East Lothian's Scottish Conservative Candidate Craig Hoy has welcomed the Chancellor’s summer statement after spending the week visiting local businesses.
As the Chancellor made his statement, Craig was out and about in East Lothian to hear first-hand the concerns of business owners as they set about their reopening plans.
With the Chancellor having announced an £800 million cash boost to the Scottish recovery effort – bringing the UK Government’s total additional coronavirus support to £4.6 billion – Hoy said it was “time to get the Scottish economy moving”.
Hoy said retailers and businesses across East Lothian now face an enormous challenge as they seek to kickstart their businesses following a three month shutdown in the wake of the Covid pandemic.
He said: “It was good to visit and speak with a wide range of local retailers across the county and to hear about their plans to get their shops, bars, cafes and restaurants up and running again. These local businesses are the lifeblood of our local economy and it’s vital we support them to ensure local jobs are maintained.”
Hoy added: ”Having come through a period of unprecedented challenge for the Scottish economy it’s fantastic to see the Chancellor roll up his sleeves and come to the aid of Scottish businesses and workers.”
Measures announced include an ambitious UK Government plan for jobs, with a strong emphasis on our young people, which Hoy described as “great news” for young Scots. Hoy also welcomed the VAT cut for tourism and hospitality as “a huge boost for Scotland” and urged Scottish ministers to put in place plans to ensure the hospitality industry can properly open for business.
Other measures included by the UK Chancellor included a cash bonus for employers who keep on furloughed staff.
Craig Hoy also welcomed East Lothian Council’s decision to “put on hold” plans to suspend on-street parking in town centres following public concern over the impact of the measures.
Hoy spent the weekend speaking with local retailers and residents and warmly welcomed the change of plans by the council: “I am relieved to see East Lothian Council taking their original Spaces for People town centre plans off the table. Our high streets are just finally starting to open up and the last thing they need is large scale disruption. There are clearly measures we can take to ensure people feel safe and secure as they shop, but the overall package of measures was disproportionate.”
He added: “Many retailers and residents expressed real fears about the impact on the loss of parking and the deployment of barriers in East Lothian town centres and I am very glad the council has taken on board these concerns.”
Craig also visited local hospitality businesses, where he met with business owners and spent time in Haddington with East Lothian Chief Inspector Neil Mitchell, who was visiting retailers as the recovery operation gets underway.
Hoy said: “These businesses are vital to the future recovery of the East Lothian economy. It was very welcome to see the Chief Inspector engaging with retailers while taking the time to visit local pubs and cafes to see the excellent work they are doing to put effective social distancing measures in place.”