FURTHER to your article ‘Time for action over empty shops’ (Hawick News, June 28), one could only be left with the deeply worrying conclusion that the commercial longevity of our High Street appears to be in the less-than-reliable hands of SNP Finance Minister John Swinney, and whether or not he decides to relent and implement a desperately-needed reduction in rates for small businesses.
Mr Swinney’s dismal failure to bring a single job to Hawick following the demise of Pringle will forever grate with large swathes of Teries, and as MSP John Lamont rightly says: “The time for warm words has ended.”
Local traders are battling for survival on a daily basis, but Mr Swinney seems intent on presiding over the slow, lingering death of not just Hawick High Street, but of high streets and thoroughfares up and down the country.
On a local level, I would be interested to hear SNP Councillor Alastair Cranston’s thoughts on the current crippling business rates, and would urge him to join Mr Lamont in raising his concerns with Mr Swinney in the strongest possible terms and at the earliest opportunity.
with regards to last week’s front page story on the amount of vacant shops in Hawick, is it not true that the dire situation on our High Street is just as attributable to the proliferation of national supermarkets as much as the extortionately high rates?
Teries can’t say they weren’t warned about the negative impact these big stores would have on independent retailers, yet they were still welcomed with open arms.
Yes, Morrisons and Sainsbury’s provide significant employment in the town, but for every job they’ve created, how many local shops have been forced to shed workers or, in many cases, gone to the wall?
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