Support broadens for TPA Bristol Action Day

Support is broadening for our Action Day in Bristol this Saturday against the introduction of a Workplace Parking Levy (WPL) by Bristol City Council in the city centre. In the wake of Bristol North West MP Charlotte Leslie and Conservative mayoral candidate Geoff Gollop coming out in support of our stance against the tax on business parking places, more Bristol mayoral candidates are stepping forward to voice their concerns.

‘Bristol needs policies to improve transport in the city, not a crude tax on people who already have too few choices,’ says Labour mayoral candidate Marvin Rees. ‘This is simply a flat-rate tax on business. We face a challenge to reduce traffic levels but we can only do this by making public transport more attractive by reducing cost and improving frequency and reliability.’

‘Another daft idea from the Lib Dems,’ says Respect’s candidate Neil Maggs. ‘Just when we are supposed to be helping small and medium sized businesses through a double dip recession. Firms that pass the cost on will be effectively cutting staff pay by £20 a month. Where is the justice in that?’

Independent candidate Andrew Thorne hints at future problems if the WPL is not opposed: ‘If the firm owns the land then why should the council charge them? This opens the way for charging homeowners and tenants for parking in the future.’

Liberal Democrat candidate Jon Rogers is more cautious, hinting at a possible lack of support for WPL even in Bristol City Council. ‘Discussions are not resolved, as far as I am aware,’ he says, ‘and are also looking at supplementary business rate options, or perhaps even linking with city deal. These are sensitive discussions, and I would not wish to interfere at this stage.’ It has recently emerged that the council’s Rapid Transit Funding Options Steering Group, responsible for discussing the WPL, has postponed its meetings until further notice.

Only the Green Party candidate Daniella Radice appears to be wholly in favour of the scheme. ‘It will encourage walking, cycling and the use of trains and buses,’ she says, ‘and so decrease congestion and air pollution, and the money raised will go towards improving public transport.’

In addition to TPA Chief Executive Matthew Sinclair and representatives of the Bristol branch of the Federation of Small Businesses and the Association of British Drivers, Simon Richards, Director of the Freedom Association, will be joining the protest on Saturday, along with Jennifer Salisbury-Jones, head of Bristol University’s Freedom Society.

‘At a time when shoppers and small businesses are suffering from the recession,’ says Simon Richards, ‘the last thing that they need is the imposition of yet another tax on car parking. This will not be a tax on cars so much as a tax on jobs. It is madness and must be scrapped. It’s time for councils to start living within their means - as ordinary people have to do - and to call a halt to penal anti-business measures which will destroy businesses and jobs.’

TPA supporters are encouraged to join our fellow protestors in Bristol on Saturday 29th when we will meet promptly at The Nails in Corn Street at 11.00am for a group photograph before collecting signatures.

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