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Ideas for recovery

Shops demand scrappage scheme and free parking

Multrees Walk, shop, retail, Edinburgh

Shops need help such as free parking, says SRC (pic: Terry Murden)

Retailers are calling on the Scottish Government to cut taxes, encourage councils to abolish town centre parking charges, and introduce a scrappage scheme for household items.

These are among a list of ideas submitted to an advisory group on economic recovery to help boost consumer spending when the lockdown ends.

The Scottish Retail Consortium adds that the current rates-free period needs to be tapered to avoid a spike in costs for retailers when rates are restored next year.

It also suggests giving cash directly to the less well-off – an idea suggested previously to help those facing severe pressure on household costs.

The SRC”s eight-page “Road to Recovery” will be among those considered by the advisory group chaired by former banker Benny Higgins who has called for submissions before the end of this month.

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Retailers want a delay in further public policies to allow retailers to focus on restructuring their businesses to manage physical distancing and other new public health actions.

The SRC says targeted income tax or land and buildings transactions tax cuts would support ordinary workers, while a short-life scrappage scheme to replace inefficient household items with modern more environmentally friendly models would encourage demand for new items.

Local authorities should persuade consumers to return to town centres through a commitment to abolish town centre parking charges.

SRC head of policy Ewan MacDonald-Russell, said: “The Scottish economy is already facing unprecedented turmoil. Our retail sales figures saw a 40% drop in April; and there is a slew of evidence which indicates retailers will face the toughest trading conditions this century once the country emerges from lockdown.

We are ready to play our part in rebuilding Scotland’s economy

– Ewan MacDonald-Russell, SRC

“The Scottish Government must take bold and imaginative steps to deliver an economic stimulus package which will drive the economy on the road to recovery.

“That should include revisiting policy measures to ensure they are still relevant for the new economy, a package of short term measures to build consumer confidence and encourage shoppers back into town and city centres, and steps to reduce costs and burdens on businesses who are under immense strain.

“Whilst the days ahead will be difficult, Scotland’s retailers are robust and resilient. We are ready to play our part in rebuilding Scotland’s economy.

“We hope the proposals in this paper will help to spark the debate on what the road to recovery looks like.”

The full submission can be read here: https://brc.org.uk/media/674906/road-to-recovery-src-submission-to-the-sg-economic-recovery-group.pdf



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