Ministers aims to tackle over-zealous council parking fines

The Northern Echo: Communities Secretary Eric Pickles wants to galvanise high streets Communities Secretary Eric Pickles wants to galvanise high streets

THE Government has revealed £1bn plans to strengthen the UK's high street and create hundreds of new jobs.

The policies, unveiled by Communities Secretary Eric Pickles, include tackling aggressive council parking policies and capping penalty charges to give shoppers greater freedom to spend.

The plans also feature a £1,000 allowance for retail premises with a rateable value of up to £50,000, which include shops, pubs, cafes, and restaurants, a two per cent cap on bills up to 2015, and extending the doubling of the Small Business Rates Relief until April 2015.

Mr Pickles said it will allow businesses to pay bills over 12 months, rather than ten, which will help with cashflow.

He said: “The way we use our high streets is changing and the measures unveiled today give councils more power to reflect that in the way their high streets look and operate.

“New tax breaks for shops and sensible changes to over-zealous parking rules will help make high streets more attractive to shoppers.

“By providing excellent local services and offering communities a vibrant place to spend their leisure time and money, local authorities can secure the future of their high streets for many years to come.”

Transport Secretary, Patrick McLoughlin, said parking was a major issue holding back high streets.

He said: “Unfair parking fines blight the use of our high streets and force shoppers out of towns.

“We want to rein back aggressive rules by banning the use of CCTV for parking enforcement, reviewing the use of yellow lines, and giving shoppers a grace period to get back to their car after their ticket has run out before they get fined.

“We will also update guidance to emphasise a less heavy-handed approach to parking enforcement and to reinforce that charges and fines cannot be used as a means to raise cash.”

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