City Centre and Beachfront Regeneration (Aberdeen)

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament at on 24 March 2021.

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Photo of Aileen Campbell Aileen Campbell Scottish National Party

I thank the member for his question. Like the First Minister, I share the disappointment about John Lewis’s plans and I appreciate that this will be an incredibly concerning time for the staff who are involved and their families. The First Minister also intimated that support would be available through the partnership action for continuing employment initiative. However, if further developments continue, it would be wise for the Government to continue to explore all options with regard to what can be done and to identify what actions, activity and support might be helpful in this space.

I point out that, in a more general sense, we have recognised that our high streets will be critical to our recovery. Today, along with the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities, we have published our response to the town centre action plan review, which I commend to Lewis Macdonald. The review was led by Professor Leigh Sparks, who is esteemed in that field, and I pay tribute to him for his work in the area.

We will work across Government to look at any options and opportunities that might exist, and we will engage with Lewis Macdonald as best we can. I put on record my thanks to him for all his contributions to the Parliament’s work and for being a strong voice for Aberdeen and the north-east for many years. I wish him well in the next chapter of his life.