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Parliamentary debates and questions

S5W-04905: Graham Simpson (Central Scotland)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 22 November 2016

To ask the Scottish Government what steps it is taking to promote investment in town centres.

Answered by: Kevin Stewart 5 December 2016

The Scottish Government is promoting investment in town centres through the Town Centre Action Plan (TCAP). The plan is a cross-government response to the recommendations of the national review of town centres and includes actions designed to support their revitalisation and to assist local action towards achieving this.

The Town Centre First Principle (TCFP) which underpins the action plan was jointly developed by Scottish Government and COSLA. The principle is about adopting an approach to decisions that considers the vibrancy of town centres as a starting point. It asks that the health of town centres features in decision making processes. The principle is about open, measured and transparent decision making that takes account of medium to longer term impacts on town centres.

More information on TCAP and TCFP can be found at the Scottish Government town centre regeneration website:

http://www.gov.scot/Topics/Built-Environment/regeneration/town-centres

We encourage businesses to invest in town centres by delivering the most competitive business tax environment in the UK, with two in five properties in Scotland paying zero or reduced rates under the Scottish Government’s Small Business Bonus Scheme and relief also available under Fresh Start.

We have introduced a substantial power under the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015 which gives councils more control over business rates and an opportunity to tailor them to their local area and circumstance. It could be applied in order to attract new investment into our town centres.