Ditch parking charges to save local businesses, FPB urges

Thursday 10 January 2013

Local councils are creating impossible conditions for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) by charging for town centre car parking, it has been claimed.

According to the Forum of Private Business (FPB), these fares - and fines for non-compliance - are dissuading consumers from visiting retail areas and spending their discretionary income.

The organisation has called for local authorities to reintroduce free parking in a bid to increase footfall on the high street and offer a new lease of life to hard-up enterprises.

Such a measure could also reduce the number of vacant commercial premises, and make town centres a more appealing place to visit, the FPB claimed.

Earlier this week, research released by the Institute of Advanced Motorists this week showed how local authorities across the country made record profits in 2011-12 at the expense of motorists.

Compared to previous years, the average take increased by 15 per cent - with Westminster Council topping the list earning £38 million from fines and charges.

"With councils making this kind of profit at the expense of motorists it's no wonder shoppers are thinking twice about visiting their local high street," said FPB spokesman Robert Downes.

"The evidence is now there for all to see that many councils are using motorists as cash cows without a thought for the consequences their actions have on the wider business communities."

Posted by Dan Smith