Parking charges “hammering town centres”


Figures released this week showing a huge rise in revenue for councils through car parking fines and charges is damning proof local authorities are hammering motorists visiting town centres, the Forum of Private Business has said

The small business support organisation last month called for local authorities to dump car parking charges for 2013 as part of a drive to help struggling high street traders in what looks set to be another difficult year.

The Forum said this would increase footfall in town centres and make them more attractive places for firms to do business, and reduce the number of vacant commercial premises.

But new research released by the Institute of Advanced Motorists shows how local authorities across the country made record profits in 2011/12 at the expense of motorists compared to previous years, with the average take increasing by 15%.

“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 Forum 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.

“With an average increase of 15% in take from fines and car parking charges, it’s plain councils are ramping up efforts and prices to raise revenue. Crude and short-sighted money spinners like this just means more and more shoppers abandoning their local high street and looking elsewhere for their shopping needs.”