Edinburgh charges more than almost any other city in the UK for tradespeople to park in the city centre, a report has revealed.
Only the London borough of Islington charges more for a trade parking permit – which allows workers such as plumbers or electricians unlimited parking outside of their clients’ homes in city areas.
Experts said high parking charges were “inevitably” passed on to the consumer.
The city council charges £1000 a year for the privilege – one of only ten UK local authorities identified as charging more than £500 for an annual tradesperson’s parking permit in a study by Direct Line.
Aberdeen also made the top ten list, charging £550 for an annual permit.
Gordon Henderson of the Federation of Small Businesses Scotland said: “Tradespeople don’t want to be expensive, but it is inevitable that they have to pass on high charges to the customer. This is a huge amount of money to pay out in a year for a small business. Every penny that goes to the council in charges does not go into the local economy.
“It is all very well for the council to promote public transport, but tradespeople are not going to be able to throw their tools over the shoulder and then jump on the tram to someone’s house.”
Michael Cairns, director of Celsius Plumbing and Heating in the Capital, said many companies do not sign up to the annual permit, branding the costs “a joke”.
Councillor Lesley Hinds, the city’s transport leader, said that the degree of accessibility varies between local authorities.
“Unlike many other authorities, our permits allow for parking in any pay and display and permit parking spaces across the entire city,” she said. “As the capital of Scotland, parking in Edinburgh’s centre is at a real premium with space required for residents, businesses and thousands of visitors daily. We are currently consulting on a draft Parking Action Plan, which aims to improve accessibility to the city and maintain economic vitality.”
Nick Breton, head of Direct Line for business, said: “The complexity of parking charges and restrictions across different local authorities makes it both expensive and confusing for tradespeople trying to service customers and run a successful business.
“A more standardised approach to parking controls and permits across the UK would save time and money for tradespeople and benefit the wider economy.”
The study also found that tradespeople working across two areas, especially in London where boroughs operate separate schemes, could run up huge annual bills.