Local residents and traders opposed to elected Bristol Mayor George Ferguson’s costly Residents’ Parking Zones (RPZ) gathered outside City Hall on College Green—and they brought along a WW2 Sherman tank to make their point!
On the same day, Bristol City Council debated a petition of ‘No Confidence’ in Mayor Ferguson’s efforts to severely restrict the use of cars in Bristol with his parking zones.
“RPZ are forcing businesses to close already from lack of customers, companies to relocate because they are unable to get their staff into work and communities are isolated from lack of visitors,” says campaigner Robert Duxbury, Chair of Ashley Ward RPZ action group. “Even Blue Badge holders are being prevented from parking close to their intended destinations because Bristol’s RPZ prohibits their free unrestricted use of resident only parking bays.”
“Mayor Ferguson has said “I’m not going to react to any demonstration – I will react to normal discussion.” But when a normal discussion involving a Cross Party Working Group of Councillors, with input from residents and traders, submitted their recommendations on RPZ he completely ignored them,” says Duxbury.
The ‘No Confidence’ petition has attracted over 5,000 signatures and is the sixth most popular out of 428 petitions submitted to Bristol City Council’s website. In the last year, two anti-RPZ petitions gathered more than 11,000 signatures and hundreds of residents have demonstrated on Bristol streets. Mayor Ferguson has ignored them all.
“That’s the problem,” said one protestor outside City Hall, “the Mayor has too much power and can just dismiss our petitions without properly considering them—the councillors around him seem toothless.”
As I discovered in Islington, when I contested that council’s Controlled Parking Zones, residents’ parking schemes can initially seem appealing but end up being a tax on visiting family and friends and discourage passers-by from popping into local shopping streets, with a subsequent loss in trade for independent shops and restaurants. Of course, councils love the extra revenue from parking permits and fines, but is it really any good for the community?
In today’s Daily Telegraph Jeremy Warner makes two very interesting points on the UK’s housing market dysfunctions and some commentators’ hopes that a Mansion Tax will do anything to fix them:
Britain already has the highest property taxes in the OECD (see chart), mostly in the form of council tax. Some claim a higher purpose to property taxes than merely soaking the supposed rich – that of putting a lid on property prices. If that’s the hope, then it is equally misplaced, for such taxes plainly haven’t done much good so far.
With over 1,400 local business people and residents signing a petition calling on Bath & North East Somerset (B&NES) Council to cut parking charges, the lead petitioners finally got their time before a full council meeting in Bath’s Guildhall — and the result they wanted.
As co-lead petitioner, South West TaxPayers’ Alliance grassroots co-ordinator Tim Newark presented the Independent Shops of Bath petition against the recent rise in parking fees in central Bath. Continue Reading
I explain in City AM this morning why tax reform should be the lesson from the latest avoidance saga:
Take That’s Gary Barlow has again been reported to have participated in complicated tax avoidance schemes. And as ever, discussion on the subject has been clouded by inaccurate reporting. Many have claimed that personal tax avoidance “costs the economy” £5bn a year. This is confused nonsense, based on an HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) estimate of how much personal tax avoidance costs it. Extra money in people’s bank accounts has not left the economy – it’s still there, perhaps being spent more widely.