South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth has welcomed the Scottish Government’s u-turn on rates relief for newspapers.

The Government had previously decided not to extend business rate relief to Scottish newspaper publishers for the coming year, while extending it for other sectors such as retail and hospitality.

However, following cross party criticism during a parliamentary debate on the issue last week, including from Colin Smyth, Finance Secretary Kate Forbes announced the u-turn in the Scottish Parliament on Tuesday

Colin Smyth said: “I welcome this latest u-turn from the Scottish Government. There was absolutely no reason not to extend rates relief to newspapers and as I said in the debate last week, newspapers are struggling partly because retail and hospitality are also struggling.

“Lockdown means that shops, hotels, restaurants and pubs currently have little to advertise in our newspapers. The fact that fewer people are visiting our high streets due to lockdown means that fewer of them are picking up a paper.

“Therefore, if the extension of rates relief was needed for retail and hospitality, it was also absolutely needed for our newspapers.”

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