New research shows that the average take in car parking charges and fines has risen significantly – proof that local authorities are punishing motorists visiting town centres, says the Forum of Private Business.
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,” says 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. 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.
“What we need is councils to look at new options. Lower car parking charges, or have entire days or afternoons where it’s free. Times are changing, and town centres have to be managed better by local authorities if they are to survive and compete with the likes of internet e-tailers and out-of-town shopping centres, where parking is often free.”
“These latest figures show just how ignorant many councils are to the needs of their local high street businesses. The Government has done its bit by extending Small Business Rate Relief in the Autumn Statement – now it’s the turn of councils to do likewise with free car parking, or any kind of concession for motorists that entices shoppers into their local town centre.”