Business development · 24 February 2017

Small businesses push for local parking reforms to protect town centres

shutterstock_510527224
Seven in ten independent businesses said local parking reforms were key to future success

Members of the House of Lords have been urged to pass a bill in parliament that will give the government powers to force local councils to consult before putting up parking fines and charges in UK town centres.

As a simple new mechanism to encouarge local parking reforms for thousands of local businesses, the Parking Places (Variation of Charges) bill has secured cross-party support, passing all stages in the House of Commons. It now passes to the House of Lords, where a second reading takes place on 24 February.

If passed, the bill should make it easier and quicker for local councils to drop one-off parking charges for special occasions and events. It will also take away the need for 21 days’ notice when councils reduce or suspend parking charges.

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has encouraged local parking reforms at a time marked by economic uncertainty and rising business costs for all UK firms, including those smaller independent, town centre retailers that are vital to many local communities.

Commenting on this bill’s significance, national chairman at the FSB, Mike Cherry, said it will enable small independent businesses to thrive. “The Lords should back this Bill,” he added.

“It makes it easier to lower or suspend charges for moments such as Small Business Saturday, while giving businesses a greater opportunity to have their say if hikes are proposed.”

Recent FSB research revealed 70 per cent of the UK’s small firms found parking measures to be important to the future of independent businesses, since high parking charges, overly aggressive enforcement and lack of space in many parts of the UK, has been seen to discourage shoppers from visiting high streets and town centres.

The high level of parking charges and fines raise billions for local councils, but put [small business owners] and independent retailers in town centers at a disadvantage,” Cherry went on to say.

“Customers who would otherwise choose to use independent shops are more likely to take their business elsewhere.”

Majority of local councils fail to ensure prompt supply chain payment.

Sign up to our newsletter to get the latest from Business Advice.


 
TAGS:

ABOUT THE EXPERT

Fred Heritage is deputy editor at Business Advice. He has a BA in politics and international relations from the University of Kent and an MA in international conflict from Kings College London. He previously worked as a reporter at Global Trade Review magazine.

Q&A

If you’ve found the article above useful, but have a more detailed and bespoke question, then please feel free to submit a query to our expert. We at Business Advice will get in contact with them on your behalf and arrange for a personalised response. These questions and answers will then be collated on the site for any other readers who have similar queries.

Ask a question

On the up

Find out how KPMG Small Business Accounting can really work for you

FIND OUT MORE