Plea for help

Business groups call for free parking to help trade

Victoria Street

Free parking may lure shoppers back into towns and cities (pic: Terry Murden)

Nine business organisations have added their voices to Daily Business‘s call for Scotland’s local authorities to introduce free car parking to help boost trade.

The groups have written to Finance Secretary Kate Forbes and COSLA calling for a package of support until the end of the year.

The plea comes as many tourism and retail businesses in Scotland’s towns and cities struggle to remain solvent amid a significant decline in footfall due to the current restrictions.

The organisations say car parking fees are a regressive charge at a time when consumers are feeling pressure on their wallets and high streets need custom.

Free parking was one of 10 suggestions by Daily Business in August to help get the economy moving

In their letter, the groups say: “Removing as many barriers as possible to enable those businesses who believe they can trade in a meaningful and profitable way must be a priority for local and central government.

“The cost of parking in our towns and cities is viewed by a number of business organisations as a major barrier to trade and we would therefore ask that consideration is given to removing all local authority parking charges in the run up to Christmas to create the stimulation needed to bring life back to our local economies.

“We acknowledge the financial challenges faced by all of Scotland’s local authorities and the importance of parking fees as revenue stream and would therefore ask that the Scottish Government consider diverting a portion of the £1bn allocated to Scotland by the Treasury to each of our local authorities to enable a waive on parking charges for at least until the end of this calendar year to allow businesses the best possible chance to trade in the run up to Christmas.”

Marc Crothall – Chief Executive, Scottish Tourism Alliance

Liz McAreavey – Chief Executive, Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce

Stuart Patrick – Chief Executive, Glasgow Chamber of Commerce

Andrew McRae – Policy Chair, Federation of Small Businesses Scotland

James Withers – Chief executive, Scotland Food & Drink

David Lonsdale – Director, Scottish Retail Consortium

Phil Prentice – Chief Office, Scotland’s Towns Partnership

Denzil Skinner – Chair of Scotland’s City Bids Forum

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