Business development Fred Heritage · 24 February 2017
Small businesses push for local parking reforms to protect town centres
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 encouargelocal 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.
ABOUT THE EXPERTFred Heritage
Fred Heritage was previously 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.