SMALL businesses are appealing for help to boost their high streets.

Streets Ahead, a new report from the Federation of Small Businesses, reveals how struggling firms want direct support so they can lead the transformation of their local economies.

FSB is calling on local authorities to create a High Streets strategy to tackle big issues such as car parking, potholes and planning bureaucracy.

It is also pressing for urgent business rates relief in the Budget. Without it, FSB national chair Mike Cherry, said their research showed 38 per cent of small businesses would not survive, giving weight to their calls on Government "to further extend the scope and duration of the Retailers Relief and to remove the rateable value ceiling of £2,899 on second business premises in England'.

“Small businesses are the backbone of our economy, but to thrive they need the right support, and it’s time that the Government takes action now to help secure the future of these firms."

“But it’s also critical that local authorities take action too. Measures such as the expansion of free or discounted parking is a simple way to encourage shoppers to a high street, especially at a time when large anchor stores are closing.

“As high streets evolve, we’re seeing a rise in independent businesses and many small firms engaged in Business Improvement Districts and Local Enterprise Partnerships as well as other community groups. These organised community efforts can act as positive influences for towns and their high streets as well as the wider economy. Small businesses are at the very heart of our communities and are the future of our high streets, which is why with the right support they’ll continue to be so for generations to come.”

Carolyn Frank, of North Yorkshire FSB, said: “I am sure the findings will be familiar to York’s small businesses, with car parking issues in the city centre widely reported by our local members as a barrier to their success, co-operation being key with local policy makers on city centre initiatives where small businesses' voices must be consulted and a lack of direct business support available for retailers.

“I welcome the report publication, which features FSB member case studies from North Yorkshire, and encourage the bold action that the report calls for to be taken locally, and quickly, before it is too late for our high streets. Of course, there are national issues too, including urgently needed business rates reform, where we continue to lobby central government, to take action. We know York as a centre for independent retail, and want to see the sector supported by both local and national government.”