SNP failing to help retailers in the Borders
Graham Ford • Published 12 Sep 2012 16:06
Borders MSP John Lamont has called for the Scottish Government to do more to help the retail industry in the Borders. John Lamont asked the Cabinet Secretary for Finance, John Swinney MSP, what he was doing to help the Borders during a Question Time session in the Scottish Parliament.
In his response, the Cabinet Secretary failed to pledge any further help to the Borders. It comes despite a study recently revealing that there has been an average 17% drop in footfall in the last four years across eight towns in the Borders.
John Lamont MSP said: "The Cabinet Secretary failed to acknowledge the real problems which retailers in the Borders are facing. Across eight towns in the region we have seen a 17% drop in high street footfall in the last four years, meaning that there are 8,000 fewer shoppers.
"This is unacceptable, and with towns such as Selkirk and Duns seeing drops of up to 30% in footfall it is clear that the Scottish Government need to do more to help them. Instead, many local businesses are facing much higher business rates which are just adding to the difficulties which they already face.
"The retail sector is a vital employer in the Borders, with many young people finding their first jobs in local shops. We cannot afford our retail industry to be damaged any further by the SNP and that is why I called for John Swinney to take action."
John Lamont added: "I was disappointed that he couldn't pledge to provide any further support to our region. I will always stand up for the Borders and will continue to push him and his colleagues to do more to help Borders retailers."
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