Colin Beattie, MSP for Midlothian North & Musselburgh, has today welcomed new figures which show that the number of empty shops in Scotland dropped to 8.7 per cent in October – the lowest retail vacancy rate for four years.
The figures, published by the Scottish Retail Consortium, also show that this rate is lower than the UK rate of 9.1 per cent. There has also been a slight improvement in retail footfall compared to last month.
Commenting, Mr Beattie said:
“These encouraging figures show that the proportion of empty shops in Scotland is now lower than at any time over the last four years and lower than in the UK as a whole – a welcome sign that ahead of the busy Christmas season Scotland’s high streets are getting back to business.
“The SNP government is serious about revitalising our town centres – that’s why a new £1.7 million fund to regenerate town centres was launched in August and local authorities have been given more powers over local business rates.
“These new figures are also another sign that the SNP government’s work to support entrepreneurs is bearing fruit – the number of businesses now benefiting from the Small Business Bonus Scheme in Midlothian has reached 1,235, contributing to the highest number of businesses in Scotland since devolution.
“The SNP is determined that Scotland remains the most competitive place to do business in the UK and that our high streets flourish – creating jobs, boosting local growth and supporting local communities.”