The Tory Government with the full support of the Lib Dems cut council budgets across the country. Here in the North West, those cuts were some the highest. Labour MPs have opposed the cuts to council funding which have taken place for the last 6 years under both the Conservatives and the Lib Dems.
Millions have been sliced from Sefton Council’s budget and we have seen the loss of some vital services – with many more still under threat.
So it’s no wonder that councils have to consider parking charges as the government is giving them no choice. All this at a time when small businesses who trade in our high streets need all the help they can get. As someone who used to run a small business, I know that businesses need the government to help them. Sadly in this country, we have a government that doesn’t help and only adds to the costs of running a business, whether it is through high business rates, making businesses file tax returns every three months or putting up car park charges.
And it is clear that these parking charges are a direct result of a policy of austerity championed by the Tories and supported by the Lib Dems.
But car parking charges in our town centres are bad for local businesses and are an example of why austerity is so short sighted. That is why I have been calling on the Conservatives and their Lib Dem friends to change their minds and reverse the cuts, so that Sefton and other councils can afford not to have to put up parking charges.
The reality is that it will take a change of government and the election of a Labour government to see an end to austerity and to cuts to council services. That is the only way to stop car parking charges in reality. I shall of course continue to call on the Conservatives to reverse the cuts and do what I can to help our local businesses and to support our high streets.