TORY politicians want parking charges to be suspended to help Borders high streets.

John Lamont MP, Rachael Hamilton MSP and Michelle Ballantyne MSP are among the Conservative Party members who are calling for a raft of measures to be introduced by Holyrood.

It comes as numerous businesses in the Borders have been buffeted by the impact of coronavirus in recent months.

Mrs Hamilton said: “We need measures that promote the high street and remove barriers to get shops and businesses reopened safely.”

The Scottish Government says it has already spent more than £2 billion supporting businesses, adding that a further £2 million will be invested in the recovery of town centres.

However, the Scottish Conservatives say there is evidence that people have been using their debit cards less frequently since lockdown began.

In an attempt to reverse the trend, the Tories want to see the two-metre distancing rule reviewed.

They are also calling for the Scottish Government to launch a “buy local" campaign, while temporarily ditching parking charges and introducing relaxed rules on pavement eating and drinking.

Mr Lamont said: “Our high streets will have been badly hit over the last three months.

“Without radical action, we risk seeing the worst economic hit to our economy for decades.

“This will undoubtedly mean more job losses in the Borders.

"It is vital that we do all we can to support local businesses as they recover from this crisis.

“Encouraging everyone to buy local and relaxing laws on outdoor eating and drinking could really give our local economy a boost when so many of the summer months have already been lost.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “We understand the economic cost of lockdown – but workplaces, including shops, should not reopen until the evidence suggests it is safe to do so."

They added: “We will continue to do everything we can to support employers and employees at this time and to prepare for recovery when it is safe to reopen the economy.”