Ms Roseanna Cunningham MSP, Member of the Scottish Parliament for the Perthshire South & Kinross-shire constituency, is urging Perth & Kinross Council to take advantage of the Scottish Government’s plans to introduce a £50 million Town Centre Fund.
Finance Secretary, Derek Mackay MSP, announced the new ring-fenced fund – that will be available through the local authority settlement – during his draft budget statement last month.
The proposal aims to drive local economic growth by helping town centres fund projects such as re-purposing buildings for retail, business and community enterprise, while improving access and infrastructure.
Speaking on Friday afternoon Ms Cunningham said:
“We all know the struggles that small towns across Scotland are facing and those in my constituency are no different. High Streets really are under a huge amount of pressure right now and so I am delighted by the Finance Secretary’s plans to introduce a new £50 million Town Centre Fund.
“The fund will be passed on through the local authority settlement, so it’s up to Perth & Kinross Council to ensure our local town centres see the benefit of this substantial investment through community improvement projects.
“Changes to the way we shop is having a big impact on businesses big and small but this fund has the potential to stimulate real development in our town centres, to help communities thrive.
“The Federation of Small Businesses, has described this as a ‘no-gimmick budget at a difficult time’, and I hope that parliamentary colleagues from across the political divide will get behind these Budget proposals to ensure that town centres across Perthshire South & Kinross-shire can benefit from this boost.”
Ms Cunningham also welcomed other supportive comments from Andrew McRae, Policy Chair at the Federation of Small Business Scotland, who said:
“Over the last few years, independent businesses have been leading a fightback on our high streets. But local traders can’t prop up our town centres on their own. That’s why we’re pleased to see Derek Mackay back the FSB’s idea for a new Scottish town centre diversification fund. Similarly, a below inflation increase to business rates will give many smaller firms outside existing help much needed breathing space.”