Free town centre parking would help SMBs

Monday 17 December 2012

City of London

Scrapping town centre parking charges could make a significant difference for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) in 2013, it has been claimed.

According to the Forum of Private Business (FPB), providing free parking would help increase customer footfall and make towns and cities a more attractive place for businesses to locate.

This would help reduce the number of vacant premises and get the economy moving once again, it has been claimed.

Alex Jackman, head of policy at the FPB, said there are "so many good reasons" why all councils should be considering something along these lines.

But first and foremost it would be to help retailers through another tough trading year.

"High streets across the country are under threat and have been for many years now from the likes of out-of-town shopping centres where parking is universally free," he stated.

"Then there's the internet and the rise of e-tailers taking an increasingly bigger slice of a shrinking consumer pie."

Mr Jackman said it "does not take a genius" to work out that charging people ever more for the privilege of coming in to their town centres to spend their hard earned cash is not the best plan to grow footfall.

"Set it against a backdrop of spiralling motoring costs and it's a recipe for disaster," he added.

The FPB reports that between 2000 and 2009 some 15,000 retailers closed down in town centres, but these were followed by a further 10,000 in 2010 and 2011 alone.

Posted by Dan Smith