Call to axe January parking charges

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BORDERS MSP John Lamont has called for parking charges in the region to be suspended this month in an effort to encourage shoppers back to the High Street after Christmas.

The plea follows a Freedom of Information request made by the Conservative politician to Scottish Borders Council (SBC) and Lothian and Borders Police which revealed that more than 1,000 fines were handed out during the Christmas period in 2011.

Between December 1 and Christmas Eve 2011, 108 penalties were issued by SBC, while Lothian and Borders Police handed out 922 charges for parking offences.

“These statistics show that with limited parking available on our high streets, hundreds of motorists fell foul of our parking system last year,” Mr Lamont said.

He added: “This can act as a huge deterrent, and discourages many shoppers from making the trip back into town for the January sales. With many of our high streets in need of support, we need to do everything we can to entice shoppers back into town.”

Suspending all parking charges in the Borders for the duration of January would, the MSP said, make it much easier and cheaper for shoppers to park, and encourage more people to spend money in local shops.

He added: “Money lost in charges would be made up in increased sales and provide a welcome boost to our local economy.”