A Holyrood committee is to consider how coronavirus has impacted on Scotland’s town centres, and how they can thrive again in a “post-pandemic world”.
MSPs on the Scottish Parliament’s Economy Committee are to examine the future of town centres, and how the changing nature of retail and the move to more online shopping has affected them.
E-commerce will be one of three key focuses for the inquiry, with the committee to consider the implications this has for businesses.
Its investigation will also look at the new realities for Scottish retail, considering how it has evolved, and what impact fiscal policy could have.
Lastly, MSPs will focus on what needs to be done to help keep town centres alive, and what can drive positive changes in the future.
Claire Baker, the convener of the Economy and Fair Work Committee, said: “Scotland’s town centres have traditionally been the heartbeat of our communities bringing people together to live, work, shop and socialise.
“However, traditional town centres are under pressure and under threat, with too many shops closing and too many high streets dominated by ‘to let’ signs.
“Changing retail trends, including the growth in ecommerce and the expansion of retail park alternatives, combined with the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, continues to create a difficult trading environment.”
Appealing for businesses and members of the public to have their say, Baker added: “We want to find out how to diversify and grow high street activity, and are particularly keen to hear from businesses and members of the public on what makes a successful and thriving town centre.
“Our inquiry is seeking to bring forward recommendations to demonstrate how Scotland’s town centres can thrive in this post pandemic world, and be vibrant, resilient and accessible places which meet the economic, social and environmental needs of our communities.”