​Essential services are worth paying for with parking charges - Vladimir McTavish

​All this week, we have been hearing dire warnings of potential cuts to local services such as swimming pools and libraries. Edinburgh City Council are not alone in being strapped for cash. Many cities are much worse off.
Higher parking charges will add to city revenuesHigher parking charges will add to city revenues
Higher parking charges will add to city revenues

The council have warned that, in order to help save essential services, parking charges may have to be raised. Nobody wants to pay over six pounds an hour to park their car in George Street. However, I would much rather pay a few quid extra if it meant that kids in my neighbourhood still had somewhere to play football or have a swim on a Saturday morning.

Some people will obviously see this as an outrage. Years ago, when I was living in Newcastle, the council introduced Sunday parking charges in the city centre. This led to a flood of letters to the Evening Chronicle, complaining about the impact this would have on church attendances. I pondered on how shallow would one’s faith would have to be, for you to stop going because you had to pay to park the car for an hour.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Apparently, their belief in the blessed trinity of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Ghost was dependent on getting free parking on Sunday mornings.

Edinburgh is, of course, in a somewhat more fortunate position than some local authorities in that it can potentially levy a tourist tax to raise revenue. There are many places in Scotland that simply could not risk doing so. North Lanarkshire, for example.

There are few things to entice me to visit Hamilton. Throw in a financial penalty and I’m voting with my feet.

Come June, we shall see the introduction of Edinburgh’s Low Emission Zone. Although essentially an environmental measure, the LEZ will doubtless also raise much-needed revenue for the city’s coffers. Fines for repeat offenders could reach as much as £120.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

If we genuinely care about the future of our local library, swim centre, primary school or park, we can all do our bit to help. Go to your local second-hand car showroom and buy a clapped-out old diesel banger with a 2002 registration. Drive in and out of central Edinburgh several times a day, parking for a week or two in George Street. That should pay for a school.

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.