PLANS to withdraw police station counter services in more than 60 Scottish towns undermine efforts to breathe new life into Scottish high streets, the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has warned.
In a letter to the Scottish Government’s local government minister Derek Mackay MSP, the FSB’s Andy Willox has warned that this move not only withdraws a public service from local high streets, it also severs a link between the police and the local business community.
The small business lobby group also says that the suggestion that the police should, as an alternative, hold surgeries within supermarkets is likely to anger independent traders.
Andy Willox, the FSB’s Scottish policy convenor, said: “In July, the Scottish Government said that by diversifying our high streets, we can make them better places to live, work and socialise. In October, we learn of yet another public body choosing to make cut-backs in our home towns.
“When the FSB learned of the Scottish Courts Service’s decision to close local courts without fully considering the local economic impact, we urged the Scottish Government to instruct all parts of the public sector to consider how their decisions impact upon local economies.
“However, as Scottish public bodies look to make cash savings, it seems time and time again that they’re choosing to consolidate their estates, reducing headcounts in non-central locations and narrowing the number of public services on our high streets and town centres.”
Mr Willox added: “We’ve written to the Scottish Government to urge them to instruct the public sector to co-ordinate restructuring and get behind their high streets and communities.”
It is proposed that station counters at Selkirk, Melrose, Lauder, Coldstream and Eyemouth will be closed.