Store Closures (Aberdeen)

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

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Photo of Nicola Sturgeon Nicola Sturgeon Scottish National Party

First, this morning’s news from John Lewis is a blow to Aberdeen and my thoughts are with all the employees of John Lewis who will be affected.

As the member is aware, the Aberdeen store is the only one in Scotland among a number across the United Kingdom that John Lewis has decided not to reopen after lockdown. The reason that he gives for that does not bear any scrutiny.

However, the member raises an important issue, and he is right to raise it. The Scottish Government will engage with John Lewis directly. The partnership action for continuing employment initiative will be used to help employees who are affected. We will, of course, also engage with Aberdeen City Council.

The revitalisation of our high streets will be one of our priorities as we come out of lockdown and out of the pandemic. We will work with local authorities and the Scottish Retail Consortium to make sure that we are taking the right steps. In the short term, we will do everything that we can to support the affected employees.