Lack of parking fee cap lets councils ‘see pound signs’
Businesses fear local authorities will use new powers to impose workplace parking charges as a way to bolster their depleted resources.
There are concerns that there is to be no limit on the levy for new parking permits at places of work and that some councils are already “seeing pound signs”.
The Transport Minister Jenny Gilruth confirmed that powers will be handed to councils to introduce a scheme similar to those operating in England and Wales.
Workers wishing to park at their work will face a fee or charge – unless their employer decides to pay the costs.
Local authorities considering a workplace parking levy will have to undertake a consultation and impact assessment before deciding whether to implement such a scheme and how it should be designed and operate in their area.
In Nottingham, employers with more than 10 staff parking spaces are required to pay £428 per space with the funding used to pay for the city’s tram extension and other public transport projects.
Ms Gilruth told the Net Zero, Energy and Transport Committee: “It is, of course, for local authorities to take a view on the limit that will be reached in terms of whatever they want to set the fee or the charge at.
“I think it’s important that local authorities look at their own local circumstances and decide what that might be.”
But the Scottish Conservatives shared worries among businesses at the absence of a cap and said SNP-run Glasgow Council has been one of the first Scottish councils to consider implementing a scheme, believing they could generate around £30 million from charging businesses and workers.
Scottish Conservative Shadow Transport Minister Graham Simpson said: “The Transport Minister’s admission that there is to be no cap on workplace parking levies will terrify city centre businesses and workers.
“SNP-run Glasgow City Council are already seeing pound signs – but they and others must recognise the impact of these levies.”
Liz Cameron, chief executive of the Scottish Chambers of Commerce said: “Many businesses are concerned that local authorities, whose budgets are already stretched, may now seek to implement this levy as a revenue stream rather than for purely environmental reasons.
“The Scottish Government should think again about the negative impact that unlimited workplace parking levy charges will have on Scotland’s businesses.”
Liz McAreavey, chief executive of Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce, said: “This is disappointing at a time when we need Government to create a supportive environment for businesses as they continue the recovery from the enormous impacts of the Covid 19 pandemic and its restrictions, along with the continuing impact of Brexit.
“Local authorities, themselves financially stretched, may now view the Workplace Parking Levy as a potential revenue source when it should be just one option available amongst many to help in the long-term effort to tackle climate change, alongside measures that incentivise and encourage businesses.”