Highlands and Islands MSP Jamie Halcro Johnston has said that reviving Moray’s High Streets is crucial for growing the county’s economy.
Mr Halcro Johnston, who is a member of the Scottish Parliament’s Economy Committee, was speaking after meeting Paul McBain, the sub-postmaster of the Forres and Keith post offices.
The Conservative MSP has invited Mr McBain to be his guest at the 13th Business In the Parliament Conference which will be taking place at Holyrood in November.
Jamie Halcro Johnston said: “Our high streets are the beating hearts of communities across Scotland, and that’s no different here in Moray.
“If we can get our high streets right, they can be crucial drivers for the local economy. That means ensuring they are attractive - and accessible - places to live, work, shop and socialise.
“It also means they should have a good variety of businesses, and the local Post Office has always been a crucial component of high streets across the country. They provide vital services for many residents and businesses, and their importance has only grown after the withdrawal of so many local bank branches.
“I am therefore delighted that Paul McBain has accepted my invitation to come as my local business representative to the Business in the Parliament, and I’m looking forward to welcoming him to the Scottish Parliament in November.
“As Paul runs successful post office businesses at both ends of Moray, I know he will make a very significant contribution to event, as well as ensuring both Moray’s and the Post Office sector’s voice is well represented”.
Mr McBain, a board member of the National Federation of Sub Postmasters, said: “I was very pleased to discuss with Jamie the role of the post office network, here in Moray, and across the country, and the way it helps to sustain communities, while delivering an important range of services.
“I am really looking forward to hearing what gets said at the Conference and, hopefully, getting the opportunity to contribute myself. I will be vigorously waving the flag for the local high street as I think sometimes we get ignored among all the grand schemes and developments which governments seem to prioritise.”
Mr Halcro Johnston called in to see Paul McBain at the Forres Post Office after a day spent conducting street surgeries in Forres with local councillor Claire Feaver.
Councillor Feaver said: “It was good to do some door-knocking with Jamie as it is the best way of finding out what really are the issues that local people care about it.
“It’s much more effective than waiting in a hall hoping that constituents might turn up, and I know that local residents appreciate the effort made to come and visit them in their own communities”.