MSP backs town relief recommendation after previous call

Earlier this year, Gillian Martin asked a number of parliamentary questions on the issue.
Earlier this year, Gillian Martin asked a number of parliamentary questions on the issue.

Town Centres could benefit from new relief after recommendations were put forward in the Barclay Review.

The move comes after Aberdeenshire East MSP Gillian Martin called for more to be done to protect retailers in towns from the boom in online shopping.

Earlier this year, the SNP MSP asked a number of parliamentary questions on the issue.

Ms Martin said at the time it was important retailers in towns like Inverurie, Ellon and Turriff were not “elbowed out of the market by online sales” before adding that “online behemoths” should not be given an edge in “avoiding paying their fair share of rates.”

She called on the Scottish Assessors to “move with the times” and realise that big changes in the way people shop merits a “good hard look at who pays what”.

Now, the Barclay report has recommended town centres are supported by expanding fresh start relief and creation of a new power to allow rates to be raised on out of town/predominantly online premises and used to lower rates in town centres.

Commenting after the report was published on Tuesday, Ms Martin said: “I made it clear in February this year in parliamentary questions and In the local press that something needed to change with regard to the impact online retailers have on our towns.

“Towns in my constituency such as Turriff and Inverurie and Ellon have a range of brilliant businesses which work hard and boost the local economy.

“We should be doing all we can to make sure these businesses are able to remain competitive. I thoroughly support these recommendations, which will go towards sustaining the longevity of businesses in our town centres.”