If you are a business in Nottingham, and provide 11 or more car parking spaces for your employees, your existing Workplace Parking Levy (WPL) licence will expire on 31 March. This means you are legally required to obtain a new licence covering the period 1 April 2013 - 31 March 2014. At a time when businesses are struggling, the council will also increase the cost of permits from the current £288 a year for every workplace parking space provided, to £334 - an increase of around 16 per cent.
Businesses of course can pass on the WPL costs, but as I have previously reported, this has not always gone down well. Many businesses therefore pay the levy themselves, and others have decided to no longer provide workplace parking spaces. For many people, driving to work is the only viable option, and neither them nor their employers are willing to hand over extra cash to the council for the 'privilege' of parking in a private car park.
So, one year on, here are a few examples of knock-on effects this misguided policy has created:
- In April last year, residents in Wilford complained that as soon as the levy was introduced, more people were parking their cars on residential streets.
- In June, property consultancy firm, FHP, reported that more businesses were thinking about locating outside the city because of the WPL.
- In July, residents in Bulwell called from a residents' parking permit zone because the number of cars parked in the streets had increased dramatically since the levy had been introduced.
- In October, Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire Chamber of Commerce published a survey of members. More than one in ten businesses confirmed the findings of FHP, and said they were considering leaving the city because of the WPL. In the same month, Mansell Construction did leave the city centre and relocated to Rushcliffe.
- In November, the problems in Bulwell were still continuing. A residents' permit scheme was rejected by the council, and in a photograph, the problems the council have created are there for all to see.
- In January, more parking problems in Basford were reported. More misery for local residents.
Six examples of the many problems the WPL has created, and just recently, council leader, Cllr John Collins, falsely accused the city's largest employer, Alliance Boots, of aggressive tax avoidance. For some bizarre reason he decided to join the Corporation Tax debate and anger a company that could easily move its operation anywhere in the world. It's as if he's determined to destroy the local economy.
Businesses can't pay tax - only people can pay tax, and by introducing a WPL, and dramatically increasing the fees from April, Nottingham City Council is responsible for fewer job opportunities, fewer apprenticeships, and lower wages in the city. It could also be responsible for smaller businesses closing if larger firms relocate to other areas of the country or overseas.
It's time for the council to see sense and accept the damage this is doing to the reputation of Nottingham as a place to do business and the damage it is doing to the local economy.