THE owner of one of Glasgow’s longest running hairdressing businesses says “totally ridiculous” city centre parking charges are driving people away.

Taylor Ferguson, who has run a salon on Bath Street for 43 years, also said cutting business rates should be the “first step” in helping revitalise high streets and cutting the number of empty units.

The salon owner, whose clients include Lulu and Billy Connolly, described assertions by political leaders that they don’t know how to fix the problem as “an insult to our intelligence.”

He spoke out after the Labour party announced it will give local authorities the power to take over properties that have been vacant for at least 12 months in a bid to rejuvenate the country’s struggling high streets.

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The Scottish Government said it has made £50million available for local authorities to help town centres “diversity and flourish.”

Mr Ferguson said: “There’s been much discussion about how to solve the issue of empty shop units in city centres. First thing to do? Reduce business rates to a reasonable level.

“Local authorities need to take action - or be forced to do so.

“It’s an insult to our intelligence to have political leaders saying they don’t know how to fix the situation.

“It’s staring the decision makers in the face that they should reduce the financial burden of business rates.”

Free city centre parking on Sundays came to an end in June. The current charge for on-street parking is £1 for 15 minutes, with a maximum stay of two hours, which the salon own described as, “totally ridiculous.”

He said: “Rather than having those who want to drive come in and support the retailers and business in the city it seems the city fathers prefer to see empty parking bays.


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“They seem deaf to the needs of the retailers who are the financial heartbeat of this once great city.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “We provide the most generous package of non-domestic rates reliefs anywhere in the UK – worth an estimated £750 million in 2019-20, up from £732 million in 2018-19.

“We have established a £50 million capital Town Centre Fund in 2019-20 to enable local authorities to stimulate and support place-based economic investments which encourage town centres to diversify and flourish.”

A spokesman for Glasgow City Council said: “Our city centre transport strategy aims to deliver balanced transport benefits, encourage sustainable transport and provide a vibrant city centre.

“Parking charges help to  ensure consistent turn-over in the availability of on-street parking spaces, which allows a wider range of drivers to access areas of the city centre.

“There are also 12,000 off-street car parking spaces in the city centre that are frequently under-utilised and we are hoping to encourage greater use of these spaces.”