FMQs: Workplace parking levy would be same as 10p income tax hike

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Scots workers hit by a proposed new workplace parking levy could face the equivalent of a 10 pence income tax hike, MSPs have heard.

Tory Deputy leader Jackson Carlaw claimed that Scots have been left "alarmed" by the proposal - dubbed the car tax - which was at the heart of the Scottish Government's budget deal with the Greens last week.

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Mr Carlaw told MSPs at First Ministers Questions that he had been hearing from "deeply alarmed ordinary Scots" over the impact of the proposed new tax on parking at work.

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The workplace parking levy was announced in last week's budget dealThe workplace parking levy was announced in last week's budget deal
The workplace parking levy was announced in last week's budget deal

He read out a letter from an apprentice from South Lanarkshire who claimed the potential outlay of £2 a day on an apprenticeship wage would be "a lot."

"This is a tax that will hit the lowest and least represented employment groups in the country" Mr Carlaw said.

And he added; "Scottish Conservatives - all of us here - will oppose a workplace parking levy."

"A £400 annual charge would be equivalent to increasing the basic rate of a tax paid to a worker on the real living wage from 20 pence in the pound to 30 pence in the pound."

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"Can the Deputy First Minister tell us, when he promised not to increase the basic rate of income tax before the last election, did he imagine he would be voting to thump those same workers with a new levy equivalent to a tax hike of 10 pence in the pound."

But Mr Swinney said the Government were forced into reaching a deal with the Greens because the Tories were "spectacularly absent" from talks.

He added that the plans will only enable councils to "exercise a judgement about whether they want to introduce the levy.

"The decision will be up to local authorities to take that decision. It is an example of localism in practice and I would've thought the Conservatives would have welcomed that."

He told MSPs that First Minister Nicola Sturgeon received a letter from four Tory MSPS - including Mr Carlaw - which urged the Scottish Government to "empower" local councils.