The SNP government must act now to save our high streets.

Coronavirus is the biggest economic challenge of our lifetimes and the UK government has responded by injecting £10 billion of funding into Scotland to protect it from the devasting economic consequences of this pandemic.

The scale of this intervention is staggering. Almost a third of the entire Scottish workforce – some 800,000 Scots – have had their jobs saved by the UK government.

Even the SNP have found it in their hearts to recognise the impact of the UK government’s intervention with the SNP’s finance secretary publicly praising the UK government’s response and their economy secretary describing the Job Retention Scheme as a ‘lifeline’.

The UK government’s fiscal intervention has kept the Scottish economy from completely collapsing until it can be restarted.

This is where our economic efforts should now be focused – safely opening businesses and getting people back to work.

The SNP government need to step up and start focusing on economic recovery.

Without serious action, we risk plunging Scotland into the deepest economic depression of modern times, which will leave lasting damage on the life chances of the young and the poorest in our society.

Economic recovery is required across all sectors and industries and central to this recovery will be saving our high streets.

This is why the Scottish Conservatives have called for a Town Centre Coronavirus Plan to help stop closures and bankruptcies in towns right across the country. This plan includes:

• A major “buy local” campaign organised by the Scottish government urging Scots to back local high streets.

• Law changes relaxing rules on pavement eating and drinking.

• Temporary scrapping of parking charges to encourage shoppers to come out.

• Review of the two metre rule in social distancing.

I am calling on the SNP government to set out a plan to rescue high streets in West Dunbartonshire.

In addition, we can all play our own small role when it comes to protecting people’s livelihoods. Every spending decision people take in West Dunbartonshire over the coming weeks, from shopping in local stores, supporting locally run cafes, and paying for local traders to fix household appliances, might make all the difference when it comes to saving local jobs and protecting livelihoods over the next few months.

As we ease lockdown measures, hopefully in the coming weeks, I encourage everyone in West Dunbartonshire to buy local.