Small businesses based in our town and city centres are having a tough enough time as it is, with internet commerce and out-of-town retail on the rise.
And as each passing year goes by, they are seeing reduced customer footfall. Essentially, fewer people are coming to the high street to do their shopping.
Some people may shun the town centres because they feel they can get a better deal elsewhere, while others resent being made to pay hefty car parking fees.
And can you blame them? Across the UK, councils have hiked the cost of car parking, to the point where some consumers are being priced out of the CBD.
When edge-of-town superstores, with all products under one roof, offer free parking, what is the point of the fighting through the traffic to reach the centre?
For this reason, my full backing goes to the Forum of Private Business, which is calling for councils to scrap car parking charges.
Even in the last five to ten years, the landscape has changed. Car parks are rarely full, and the shops most certainly aren’t either.
In order to get people back onto the high street, local authorities should be offering every possible incentive. Free parking could make a difference.
Businesses are closing at an increasingly rapid rate, leaving unoccupied units and a terrible legacy from the recession.
Charging people to come and shop in these hard-up areas is a huge false economy. Without a boost for small retailers, achieving a sustainable economic recovery will be all the more difficult.
Posted by the Secret Businessman