Tax on commuters
Council to decide on workplace parking levy
A levy aims to reduce the number of commuters driving to work
Edinburgh City Council is expected to decide this week whether to introduce a tax on workplace car parking which is opposed by those who say it will drive business and visitors away.
The council believes a levy will discourage people from driving to work while raising funds to invest in transport infrastructure, including a further extension of the tram line.
A new report setting out options on a possible Workplace Parking Levy (WPL) for the city indicates that charges could be between £450 and £650 per space.
Transport convener Scott Arthur has stressed that the low-paid job and shift workers would be protected and measures introduced to prevent commuters parking in nearby residential streets or elsewhere to avoid the levy.
Moves to introduce workplace parking charges follow legislation passed by the Scottish Government. It would be up to the employer to decide whether to pass on the cost to workers. NHS premises and hospices are exempt under the legislation.
Edinburgh Council is looking at a range of options that consider a scheme for the core city centre or the entire local authority area. It also takes into account a threshold for the number of spaces to be affected.
The maximum amount raised by applying the levy to all Edinburgh workplaces with no exemptions would be £18.9m. That could allow the council to borrow upwards of £100m for investment in Edinburgh’s transport network.
Councillors voted in July to explore a WPL scheme which could be introduced would be early 2025.
The city’s minority Labour administration did not include proposals for a WPL in its election manifesto.
There has been opposition to the levy, or calls for it to be delayed during a period when businesses are coping with other rising costs.
David Lonsdale, director of the Scottish Retail Consortium, said: “Workplace parking levies are a charter for extra cost and complexity.
If Edinburgh city council gives the green light to this it would see firms taxed twice for the parking places they provide for staff, on top of the business rates already paid on those spaces.
“The introduction of any such levies should be paused for at least 18 months until the costs crunch facing firms has lessened and economic conditions have markedly improved.
“In the absence of a pause on their implementation then safeguards should apply – including a Scotland-wide cap on the amount charged, a sunset provision as is the case with BIDs [buiness improvement districts], and consistency amongst councils implementing any levy.”