Conservative-run Basildon Council had some favourable coverage in the Mirror this morning, of all places. This was for their decision in February to scrap weekend parking charges on high streets. According to the Forum of Private Business there are 200 shops a day closing as the recession bites. The Mirror reports a 10% increase in business in Billericay since free parking was introduced.

Basildon Council leader Cllr Malcolm Buckley says: "We hope this means town centres can retain their variety and continue to prosper rather than becoming boarded up ghost towns."

Should other councils follow Basildon's example?