A LOCAL MSP is calling on the Scottish Government to set out a plan to rescue Dumbarton’s high streets from disaster.

Scottish Conservative and Unionist MSP Maurice Corry is backing his party’s calls for a “Town Centre Coronavirus Plan” which would help stop closures and bankruptcies in towns across the country.

Key industries such as hospitality, tourism and retail are warning thousands of jobs could be lost in the coming months due to the slump in demand and continued social distancing measures.

In Helensburgh and Dumbarton alone, spending has slumped by 31 per cent since the end of March when compared with last year.

Some of the plans the Scottish Conservatives are calling for include a major “buy local” campaign urging Scots to back local high streets, law changes relaxing rules on pavement eating and drinking, temporary scrapping of parking charges and a review of the 2 metre rule in social distancing.

Commenting, Maurice Corry said: “There is no doubt that we are now facing an economic emergency, on top of the Covid-19 health emergency. Every decision people take over the coming weeks, from spending money in local stores, supporting locally run cafes, and paying for local traders to fix household appliances, might be the difference between people joining the job queue at Christmas, or staying on track to further their career.

“Town centres across Scotland have been badly hit in recent months and the SNP Government needs to lead the way in coming up with a rescue plan for our town centres. Measures such as encouraging everyone to buy local, relaxing laws on outdoor eating and drinking, scrapping parking charges and an on-going review of the 2 metre social distancing review are just some of the ways the SNP Government could give our high streets a boost.

“The SNP Government must use their powers to act now to save our high streets, instead of simply blaming Westminster if things go wrong. Without radical action, we risk plunging Scotland into the deepest economic depression of modern times which will leave lasting and incalculable damage on the life changes of the young and the poorest in our society.

“As we ease lockdown measures hopefully in the coming weeks, I will certainly be encouraging everyone in the West of Scotland to buy local."

A Scottish Government spokesperson responded: “We understand the economic cost of lockdown - but workplaces, including shops, should not re-open until the evidence suggests it is safe to do so.

“We are continuously monitoring the evidence on the pandemic and have a review point this Thursday at which time we will consider further, safe progression through the route map.

“Our total support for Scottish business now stands at £2.3 billion, and we are also investing £2 million to support the recovery of town centres. We will continue to do everything we can to support employers and employees at this time and to prepare for recovery when it is safe to reopen the economy.”