Calls to scrap parking charges on UK's first Small Business Saturday

Local councils should waive town centre parking charges in support of the UK's first Small Business Saturday being held on 7 December, the Forum of Private Business (FPB) has said.

The business group is calling on councils across the UK to lend their support to the inaugural Small Business Saturday UK - an initiative to encourage communities to shop local and support small businesses.

Parking charges discourage many consumers from shopping on the high street and can weaken the customer base of small businesses, say the FPB.

The group has written to all local authorities asking them to consider removing parking charges on the day to provide an added incentive to shoppers to visit their local high streets.

Some authorities are already trailing free or reduced charges, however the FPB believe more needs to be done to make Small Business Saturday UK a success.

The FPB's chief executive, Phil Orford, said that small businesses were the 'grass roots' and 'heart' of 'every local community'.

"The Forum is a proud supporter of Small Business Saturday, which is about reconnecting people with the small businesses in their local areas and demonstrating the enormous value that they bring to individual customers and to the UK as whole," he said.

"To make it a real success everyone needs to play their part and local councils have a key role to play in removing one of the barriers for small businesses."

Small Business Saturday has taken place in the US since 2010, falling on the first Saturday after Thanksgiving - one of the busiest shopping days of the year. The initiative, which is promoted via social media sites and celebrity endorsement, generated a total of £3.4 billion on the day in 2012.