Whether it is increased business rates, or shoppers being charged to park in high streets and town centres the attack on our local shops continues at an alarming rate.

It is time to stop this unrelenting assault and to give our local businesses the shot in the arm they require – before it is too late.

A three-point plan could easily change the fortunes of our high street around.

1 An online sales tax, give our local shops a chance by charging those who sell online a simple and affordable tax. For every £100 that is spent on retail £20 is spent online – it is time that the people who are making their money through web portals to be properly taxed. This would help fund…

2 Lower Business rates – For too long businesses with brick and mortar premises have had to subsidise online shopping. An introduction of a Commercial Landowner Levy would tax only the land value of commercial sites, boosting investment and cutting taxes for businesses– this levy should then be be paid by owners rather than tenants.

3 Keep free parking around high streets and town centres – The announcement that the 30 minute free parking was to be abolished in Hornchurch and Upminster would have caused many local businesses to shudder. The introduction of these charges will undoubtedly cause struggling businesses to collapse and therefore the council will lose out on business rates income they would have got. Free parking means shoppers will still feel they can pop into their local shops to make purchases and not be lost to the free car parking in places such as big superstores and Lakeside.

Due to the austerity of the Conservative Government all councils in the UK are feeling the squeeze. It is time that they look to push back on their budgets back to the those in central power rather than look to squeeze more out of the local businesses and residents who use them.

Sign this petition Against Havering council scrapping 30 minute free parking and free Sunday parking http://chng.it/pdgKSGjHKR

This post was written by Tom Clarke, Membership Development Officer and Press Officer for the Havering Liberal Democrats

Contact him by emailing thomas.clarke@haveringlibdems.org.uk or Tweet him @tpc1981

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