Edinburgh business leader voices fears over workplace parking levy

An Edinburgh business leader says the absence of an upper limit on workplace parking charges will encourage councils to view the new levy as an easy way to raise money.

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Liz McAreavey, chief executive of Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce, voiced her concern after Transport Minister Jenny Gilruth confirmed to MSPs the Scottish Government did not plan to set a maximum amount for the Workplace Parking Levy, which local authorities will get the power next month to introduce.

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Edinburgh is one of the councils which campaigned for the right to impose such a charge and it has estimated the levy could bring in £9m-£15m.

Liz McAreavey says the lack of a cap on the levy is disappointing.

The only place in the UK to operate such a levy at the moment is Nottingham, where employers with 11 or more spaces are charged £428 a year per space.

But Ms Gilruth told Holyrood's net zero, energy and transport committee there would be no government cap on how much Scottish councils could charge.

Ms McAreavey said: “This is disappointing at a time when we need government to create a supportive environment for businesses as they continue the recovery from the enormous impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic and its restrictions, along with the continuing impact of Brexit.

“It places an additional burden on businesses at a time when finance needs to be used to invest and create jobs.

"Local authorities, themselves financially stretched, may now view the Workplace Parking Levy as a potential revenue source when it should be just one option available amongst many to help in the long-term effort to tackle climate change, alongside measures that incentivise and encourage businesses.

“We have consistently encouraged a radical, innovative look at business taxation to move towards a more transactional system as opposed to bringing in measures that simply add to business costs at what is a challenging time, with many businesses continuing to face existential challenges.”

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Income from the parking levy would be ring-fenced for transport projects and Ms Gilruth told MSPs Nottingham’s scheme had raised £56 million in its first six years.

Edinburgh transport convener Lesley Macinnes said a workplace parking levy was one of the measures included in Edinburgh’s approved City Mobility Plan.

“Research has been carried out into this, as well as close engagement with officials in Transport Scotland as they develop regulations.

"Now guidance has been published we will be considering this carefully before bringing forward any proposals, which would be subject to widespread public engagement before any changes are made.

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“None of us can afford to ignore the challenges in combating the negative impacts of climate change and we must look to all sorts of solutions to meet those challenges.

"Our own City Mobility Plan, commits to a 30 per cent reduction in car kilometres – higher than the national goal – and our ambitious transport policies will move us in that direction.

" We need to be open to a number of radical measures which will help us to tackle the huge contribution that transport makes to health-related issues as well as air pollution and city congestion.”

Read More
Car parking tax must be scrapped in Edinburgh says Lothian MSP Miles Briggs
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