Scots businesses urge councils to waive parking charges in run-up to Christmas

Groups representing Scottish businesses have written council leaders calling for town and city centre parking charges to be waived ahead of Christmas.

In a joint letter to local government umbrella organisation Cosla, they say the move will help companies struggling with declining footfall caused by the pandemic.

Written by Scottish Tourism Alliance chief executive Marc Crothall, it is signed by eight further groups including the Scottish Retail Consortium, the Federation of Small Businesses Scotland and the Chambers of Commerce.

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They say travel restrictions are preventing many people from going to their destination of choice for shopping or entertainment.

Groups representing Scottish businesses have written council leaders calling for town and city centre parking charges to be waived ahead of Christmas. (Photo by Andy Buchanan / AFP)
Groups representing Scottish businesses have written council leaders calling for town and city centre parking charges to be waived ahead of Christmas. (Photo by Andy Buchanan / AFP)

“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 letter says.

“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.

It describes parking charges as “regressive” and claims they “discourage all from travelling safely to local shops and restaurants.”

A Cosla spokesman said: “We recognise the impact of the pandemic and current travel restrictions on the Scottish tourism and retail industry, with businesses in our towns and city centres particularly affected.

“Covid-19 has also put substantial pressures on local government budgets and led to significant income losses across key council services, including parking charges.”

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