Town Centres

Part of Question Time — Scottish Executive — Rural Affairs and the Environment – in the Scottish Parliament at 2:15 pm on 28 June 2007.

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Photo of Michael Russell Michael Russell Scottish National Party 2:15, 28 June 2007

I am sure that Mr Brownlee would not expect me to commit to immediate funding for Dumfries, much as I would like to. However, he made a valid point. Dumfries is an interesting example of a town where a mix of actions will be required. I believe that the reduction and elimination of business rates will have an enormous effect in Dumfries because, as Mr Brownlee will know, one of the major problems is the difficulty for start-up businesses to base themselves in town centres.

There are other problems. There is work to be done on historic buildings in Dumfries town centre—I understand it is likely to be under way shortly—and there is the question of behaviour in all town centres. The Government intends to focus strongly on promoting positive social behaviour among young people and others, and to crack down on the antisocial minority. Those two aspects must be taken together. We want to promote good behaviour as well as to punish bad behaviour. Provided that we do that in the context of a variety of initiatives, all town centres—whether in Dunoon, Wick or Dumfries—will flourish.