A previous link on the Gurn demonstrates how Elgin (under Moray Council) have an initiative for free parking for Christmas. Obviously the corollary from that is that parking charges are a big factor in the decisions people make on where to do their shopping, especially at Christmas. That article here.
There was a similar initiative proposed in Fort William recently for two hours of free parking but it didn't have a happy ending, the Area Committee Chairman, Cllr Ben Thompson, is quoted in the P&J:
“We would like to support our own High Street retailers over this Christmas period. Even with six weeks of two hours free parking, Fort William would still be contributing about one third of all the money raised in the Highlands through parking.”
Another paragraph from the article states “Mr Baxter announced his resignation from Care, Learning and Housing (CLH) committee after council bosses told him the local committee he also chairs had no right to offer two hours free parking in Fort William in the run-up to Christmas.”