MSPs back parking levy despite claims low-paid will be worst hit

ATTEMPTS to block powers for councils to introduce a workplace parking levy or hand exemptions to a wide range of people from teachers to RNLI volunteers have been rejected by MSPs.

Thursday, 10th October 2019, 6:00 am
MSPs rejected bids by opposition parties to scrap the parking levy or grant exemptions to teachers, police officers and others.

Opposition parties argued it was low-paid workers who would pay the price for the levy and said improvements to public transport should be made before the “car park tax” was imposed.

Labour’s Jackie Baillie said based on Nottingham - the only place in the UK to have a levy - any charge would be around £400 a year per space.

She said: “We can safely assume those at senior management level are likely to have the cost rolled into their remuneration package but the bulk of the workforce, those who are less well paid, face that £400 charge to park at work - and that is a tax on employment.”

Labour's Jackie Baillie argued senior managers would have the parking levy covered in their remuneration package while ordinary workers had to pay.

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Tory MSP Murdo Fraser said night shift workers faced a big hit on their wages. “And these are individuals who may not have a safe, reliable and affordable public transport alternative so they have no option but to use their cars.”

Transport Minister Michael Matheson said there were detailed requirements for councils to carry out impact studies and consult widely and money raised could only be used for the objectives of local transport strategies.

A Labour bid to scrap the levy proposal was defeated as were a series of Tory amendments to exempt teachers, police, prison officers, life boat volunteers and others.

Edinburgh transport convener Lesley Macinnes said there would be thorough consultation before any decision to introduce a workplace parking levy in the Capital.

Edinburgh’s SNP-Labour administration is committed to looking at a workplace parking levy. Transport convener Lesley Macinnes said it was one tool that could help fund improvements in public transport and active travel and giving commuters more transport choice .

She said: “While the council has not yet taken a decision to implement this power in Edinburgh, in Nottingham this is bringing significant benefits to the public and local businesses and has seen major improvements in infrastructure.

“The decision as to whether this should be applied in Edinburgh must take into consideration the city’s unique characteristics and will involve thorough consultation with citizens and business partners, which is why we believe we need the ability to the shape any scheme to match our circumstances and aspirations.”