England’s High Street Safety Fund should be mirrored here, says SRC

David Lonsdale

The Scottish Retail Consortium has urged the Scottish Government to earmark cash to help local authorities get town centres ready for the re-opening of non-essential shops.

The call came in the wake of the UK Government’s launch of a £50m ‘Re-opening High Streets Safely Fund’ to let English local authorities introduce physical distancing and other safety measures to help prepare high streets and shoppers for an easing of restrictions.

Separately, in his lockdown exit plan two weeks ago, the Welsh First Minister promised to “begin making adaptations … to town centres and high streets to facilitate shopping”.

David Lonsdale (pictured), Director of the Scottish Retail Consortium, said: “Scottish retailers of all sizes and formats are working hard to get ready to re-open safely, putting in place the necessary social distancing and hygiene measures to protect customers and staff. SRC and Usdaw have supported shopkeepers’ endeavours by jointly producing a social distancing implementation guide, published four weeks ago, which draws on the lessons learnt by pharmacies, supermarkets and other essential retailers.

“What is needed now is a plan for shopping as well as for shops – a plan that allows safe navigation both to and through our retail destinations – and we are keen to work with government, local authorities and business improvement districts to support this process.

“Any devolved windfall from this UK Government announcement ought to be ringfenced and used for similar purposes here, to support the re-opening of our retail destinations and set them on a journey towards recovery.”