Edinburgh workplace parking levy: Tory MSP calls on Labour and Lib Dems to rule out charge

‘A needless imposition on hard-working people’

Lothian Tory MSP Sue Webber has called on Labour and the Lib Dems to rule out workplace parking levies, as Edinburgh’s transport committee prepares to debate a report on how a scheme could operate in the Capital.

An annual charge of between £450 and £650 per space to discourage people from driving to work in Edinburgh could raise up to £19 million a year, which would be invested in the city’s transport infrastructure, the report says. It would be up to employers to decide whether the cost should be passed on to staff. NHS premises and hospices are exempt under the legislation.

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Transport convener Scott Arthur has said if a levy were introduced the council administration would work to ensure the charges did not hit those in low-paid jobs or shift workers.

A workplace parking levy could raise up to £19 million a year to invest in the Capital's transport infrastructure. Picture: Lisa Ferguson.

But in a letter to Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar, Ms Webber said: “At a time when hard-working families are struggling to make ends meet, increasing their tax burdens unnecessarily is surely the wrong approach. The Scottish Conservatives continue to oppose this measure as a needless imposition on hard-working people and I would respectfully invite you to do the same and stand up for the workers across both Edinburgh and Scotland you claim to represent.”

Ms Webber has also written to Scottish Lib Dem leader Alex Cole-Hamilton, whose group on Edinburgh Council has said it would consider a proposed charge.

Labour did not include a proposal for a workplace parking levy (WPL) in its manifesto at the council elections earlier this year. The party in Edinburgh has previously backed the idea, but fell into line when Labour nationally opposed it. In July councillors voted overwhelmingly to explore a WPL scheme further and the transport committee is expected to agree to progress plans. Cllr Arthur said last week: “If it’s going to go ahead it’s our duty to make it work as much as possible for the city.”

Ms Webber said: “The transport convener accepts there will be negative impacts on thousands of people, so why doesn’t he back his own party’s original policy, stand up for working people and oppose this imposition? Scottish Conservatives will certainly be arguing against this charge, at a time when global inflation and the energy crisis caused by Russian aggression is squeezing every family budget.”