Paisley Daily Express

High street recovery is Christine’s top priority

Lib Dem candidate pledges to help businesses

- STEPH BRAWN LOCAL DEMOCRACY REPORTER

Renfrewshi­re residents will hit the polls on May 6 to elect the region’s new MSPs for the next five years.

Today, the Express speaks to Christine Cosh of the Scottish Liberal Democrats, who is seeking election in Renfrewshi­re South.

Boosting the high street and supporting businesses postcovid would be Christine Cosh’s prime concern if she was elected as Renfrewshi­re South’s MSP.

The Glasgow-born candidate is running in the Scottish Parliament election for Liberal Democrats.

Having been company secretary with a sports firm for 16 years, Mrs Cosh is hoping she can bring her business know-how to Holyrood.

If voters offer her their backing next month, she insists one of her top priorities would be helping to bolster Johnstone’s struggling high street, which has been hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Business really interests me and

Johnstone town centre really does need support,” said Mrs Cosh, who is based in Giffnock, East Renfrewshi­re.

“I would be looking to support businesses there 100 per cent and look at the individual circumstan­ces of each firm and see what’s required.

“I would love to be a part of revitalisi­ng the high street in Johnstone. But, even before you can really do that, you have to speak to the businesses to find out what they need to keep going financiall­y.

“That would be my first interest, to keep these businesses going and thereafter you can look at renovating and reinvigora­ting the existing premises.”

The mantra of the Scottish Lib Dems in this election is ‘Put Recovery First’, with the party pledging to place rebuilding the country from the devastatin­g effects of the coronaviru­s outbreak top of the agenda.

Mrs Cosh - who joined the party around a year ago - said this approach resonated with her and she is keen to act on what communitie­s say is important to them in the aftermath of the crisis.

She also believes the Lib Dems can make a difference to how the public purse is spent, having already played a part in the latest budget negotiatio­ns.

“If people vote Lib Dem in Renfrewshi­re South, we can make a big contributi­on to what happens in budgets,” added Mrs Cosh.

“People can already see how we have engaged in negotiatio­ns at Holyrood, which recently resulted in £120million being confirmed in the budget to pay for new mental health services in the community.

“We also helped negotiate an extra £60m for teachers and classroom support staff.

“These are both things which are so important and the recovery from covid is going to be an ongoing process in all areas.

“The effect on mental health from the crisis is a major concern and has permeated to all age groups.

“I’d want to help with anything which is pertinent to people. That’s what the Lib Dems feel they can do – chip in and help reduce problems for people.”

Last time out in 2016, the Lib Dems received 2.7 per cent of the vote share in Renfrewshi­re South, with candidate Tristan Gray finishing bottom of the pile behind Conservati­ve Ann Le Blond, Labour’s Paul O’Kane, and the SNP’s Tom

Arthur.

It was a familiar story for the party, with Gordon Anderson also finishing last in 2011 in the constituen­cy, which straddles Renfrewshi­re and East Renfrewshi­re.

And, since the first Scottish Parliament election in 1999, the Lib Dems have gone from having 17 seats to now just five.

But Mrs Cosh does not believe the party needs to change tact and thinks it’s possible it could have more MSPs in the next term.

She added: “The Lib Dems will continue down the same line they have always gone down.

“We are a central party that always thinks about how we can be best invested in the community and I don’t think that will change.

“But I’m sure the Lib Dems can make gains at this election.

“Politics is such a changeable platform and we’ve seen things change, even in just these last few weeks.

“We don’t have a glass ball to tell us the results, but the Lib Dems can make a big difference to communitie­s and we can be strong in negotiatio­ns at Holyrood.”

If people vote Lib Dem in Renfrewshi­re South, we can make a big contributi­on to what happens in budgets

 ??  ?? Holyrood
hopes Christine Cosh
Holyrood hopes Christine Cosh

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