Make parking free for Christmas, say small firms

Dec 04, 2008

The FSB is concerned by reports that many councils are not intending to pass on the reduction on their parking charges at a time when small businesses are facing large costs in implementing the cut.

Local government already raises £1.6billion in parking charges as a source of revenue – bleeding high streets dry by making it difficult for shoppers to park.

Parking is of paramount importance to small businesses, says the FSB. It is calling for local authorities to make parking free in town centres over the Christmas period. Free parking will provide a much-needed stimulus to our local towns and villages across the country, says FSB Luton and South Beds branch chairman Carole Hegley.

She added: “Small businesses depend on local authorities to provide sensible and well-balanced parking policies that allow people to shop in town centres without being hit by steep parking charges.

“”I’m very happy to say that our council has made some concessions already.”

Mrs Hegley (pictured) said that Dunstable would get free parking for shoppers on four Saturdays running up to Christmas. But the FSB believes that shops and shoppers need more help with charges at this time.

Mrs Hegley said: “”Access to quality parking provision is a significant factor in shop performance. Local authorities need to realise that parking is an essential service, not a short term source of revenue. The failure of some local authorities to pass on the VAT cut will blight many small businesses at one of the most important times of the year – Christmas.

“”We urge local authorities to encourage consumers to Keep Trade Local and make parking free over the festive period.”””

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