By Daniel Hunter

More than 25 local councils have agreed to offer free parking on Small Business Saturday next month following the recent call from national small business group the Forum of Private Business.

Last month the Forum wrote to local authorities across the UK asking them to waive parking fees in support of the inaugural Small Business Saturday UK event next month.

The inaugural Small Business Saturday UK will celebrate small businesses across the UK, and is the culmination of a campaign to encourage communities to shop local and support their small businesses.

Following the national business group’s letter council leaders have responded positively with over 25 agreeing to implement free parking offers for the event which will take place on Saturday 7th December.

Commenting on the reaction from local councils, Chief Executive of the Forum of Private Business, Phil Orford said: “Free parking is a proven benefit to small businesses. Parking charges discourage many consumers from shopping on the high street, diminishing small businesses’ customer base. The Forum believes removing these charges will help generate the conditions needed to make Small Business Saturday UK a great success.

“The response from many councils has been really encouraging. It’s great to see local authorities are prepared to take this step to support their local small business community. We may have just 27 so far but we hope many more will follow suit.”

The Forum has written again to those councils who have not responded to the initial request to urge them to follow the examples of their council colleagues in other parts of the country and offer free parking.

Skills and Enterprise Minister Matthew Hancock said: "Small Business Saturday is a great opportunity for small businesses and has the government's full support. I'm pleased to see local councils across the whole country, from Chesterfield to Cornwall and Selby to Stevenage, are showing real support for Small Business Saturday by waiving parking charges, and I hope many more councils will follow their example. Small businesses employ over 11 million people across the UK and our new Business is GREAT campaign is celebrating the contribution they make."

Shadow Business Secretary Chuka Umunna MP said: “Small Business Saturday is set to be the UK’s biggest ever celebration of small business, with local authorities signed up to take part across all parts of the United Kingdom. This is a grass roots campaign and it is fantastic that support for the day has grown so significantly, with special events and campaigns being planned in local areas for the day across Britain. I hope the day will provide a real boost for small firms during the busiest shopping season of the year.”

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