MSP Lamont in further funding call to rejuvenate town centres

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LOCAL MSP John Lamont has called on the Scottish Government to introduce another round of town centre regeneration cash to help boost the local economy.

The Tory politician has this week urged the SNP to secure more funding to help rejuvenate high streets in the region – after businesses were able to bid for a share of a £60million pot last year.

He told the Hawick News: “Scottish Conservatives helped secure the original regeneration fund that helped fund improvements in towns including Hawick and Jedburgh. The original fund helped revitalise towns by improving our high streets and local amenities.”

And he added: “In these tough economic conditions it is even more important than ever that we give our town centres a much-needed boost, and that is why I am calling on the SNP to introduce further funding.”

A spokesperson for the Scottish Government told the Hawick News that there was no money available this year. “The Town Centre Regeneration Fund was always intended to be a one-year capital fund,” he stated. “And the current Scottish Budget constraints preclude a repeat of that.”

But he added: “It is our intention to reform empty property relief from April 2013, which will support regene-ration by introducing incentives to reduce empty shops in town centres.

“As part of the implementa-tion of our regeneration strategy, Achieving a Sustainable Future, this year we will undertake a national review of town centres in partnership with local authorities, communities and other key stakeholders.”