Coming to a town or city near you?

As I have previously commented, Nottingham City Council's Workplace Parking Levy (WPL) came into force on 1 April this year. If you are a responsible business owner who is able to supply 11 or more parking spaces to your staff, Nottingham Council will levy a fee of £288 per space. It is the employer who gets the bill, not the employee, although employers can of course pass the costs on to their employees if they wish. Judging by what has happened at Imperial Tobacco though, this route is not without its problems.

Nottingham City Council, of course, is the only council not to publish its spending above £500 online. Its excuse is it costs too much money and it can't afford it. Although the excuse is rubbish, as every other council in England has managed to do so, it can still afford £93,000 for a camera car. This is the vehicle that goes around the WPL area recording how many cars are parked in private car parks. Big Brother is certainly watching you. I don't have a photograph I can legally use of the car, however a picture of it can be found in this story from the Nottingham Post.

The WPL is an ugly tax on many levels. If you choose to not allow your staff to park, you don't pay. If you do, you do pay. It adds costs to businesses at a time when they can least afford it. It creates parking problems in neighbouring streets when workers don't park in their employers' car parks any more. This can also lead to the creation of more residential parking zones in an attempt to rectify the problem, which will create more bureaucracy, and more costs for householders.

Then there is the most obvious question of them all: what right does your council have to record how many cars are parked on your property and bill you accordingly? That question and the other points I have made all need addressing, although unfortunately for the people of Bristol, their council is also considering following in Nottingham's footsteps.

As Tim Newark pointed out last month, Bristol City Council is also thinking about introducing a WPL to help fund a Rapid Transit Scheme. We will naturally do everything we can to stop this, and if you live and/or work in the Bristol area and would like to help us, please get in touch with me.

Just like the Government, councils are capable of dreaming up new and imaginative ways of extracting our hard earned cash. Unless we make a stand against the WPL, it won't be just businesses in Nottingham and Bristol affected, it will be coming to a town or city near you.


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