Councils should urgently consider a Christmas parking charges amnesty to relieve the pressure on hard-pressed retailers and cash-strapped shoppers.
It's a worrying time for the retail trade. So far the business owners I talk to say Christmas shopping is not delivering the expected rise in footfall in our town and city centres.
Something needs to be done, otherwise, come the New Year, we will see even more vacant premises on Northern Ireland's High Streets.
One major factor which dissuades shoppers from coming into town and city centres is the high cost of parking.
One way in which councils can help deliver a timely boost for retailers is by implementing a parking charges amnesty over the Christmas shopping period.
I would strongly encourage councils to consider this action.
Such an amnesty is a relatively simple measure. But it can provide a genuine boost to retailers at a really difficult time.