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On Monday, yet another established retailer on Aberdeen’s Union Street, Molton Brown, announced its closure. It is another business lost to Aberdeen and more local people unemployed during very difficult times for the north-east.
That is due in no small part to this Government’s business rates regime. Has the First Minister got any plans beyond the immediate virus response to review a rates regime that punishes the north-east disproportionately?
That is just not true. I absolutely understand the burden of rates on businesses at the best of times, but particularly right now. That is why we have invested heavily in rates relief schemes throughout this crisis. We will continue to consider the support that we are able to give as we come out of this crisis and as businesses such as the one that the member mentioned can start to open and trade again. All of that is really important.
However, I come back to the point that this is an unprecedented crisis and all of us need to ensure that we bring all of our resources and focus to dealing not only with the immediacy of it but with the aftermath as well. I look forward to having the support—and, yes, the scrutiny and constructive criticism—of those who genuinely want to tackle these issues, as opposed to those who only want to make party-political points about them.