The single most popular answer people give when asked what would persuade them to do more shopping in their local town is free parking..
Nobody likes paying to park and retailers are consistent in wanting local authorities to cut parking fees or remove them altogether to boost trade.
Perhaps this is one of the measures needed to help trade in our town centres in Harborough and Lutterworth?
Yet councils such as Harborough generate large amounts of money from parking and it would be incredibly hard for any local authority that has enjoyed the income from parking for years to turn back the clock and make cuts or even waive charges.
It is now nearly a decade since parking charges were introduced by Harborough District Council and according to the RAC Foundation, the council made a surplus of £476,000 in the 2011/12 financial year, up from £222,000 in 2009/10.
That is a significant increase.
It would be foolhardy to think we can put the genie back in the bottle, and most people would not begrudge paying some sort of parking charge. However, there is a growing feeling nationally, and here in Harborough, that parking charges are being used to prop up dwindling council reserves.
That should never be the case.
If any council sets parking charges to simply make money and boost general funds rather than investing in a parking or highways service, it is unfairly taxing drivers.
Column by Neil Pickford.
Follow Neil on Twitter, @NeilPickfordHM.