Taxed for driving to work

Taxed for driving to work

By Swansway Motor Group 08-08-2018

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Proposed schemes in Bristol and Reading aim to encourage commuters to use alternative transport, but have been condemned as a ‘stealth tax’

Tax for providing staff car parking spaces

City centre firms in Bristol and Reading could be charged up to £400 a year for every parking space they provide for employees.

The local authorities are said to be considering the charge, which has been labelled both a ‘stealth tax’ and ‘war on motorists’.

The first such scheme was introduced in Nottingham in 2012. City councillor and transport portfolio holder Dave Liversidge said: “We introduced the Workplace Parking Levy as a way to reduce reliance on the car and make it easier to get around the city. It’s a key part of our work to keep Nottingham moving by improving public transport to give commuters more options.

“Less traffic is better for residents and businesses.”

The Nottingham levy, which is currently £402 per space for employers providing at least 11 liable spaces, has generated more than £44m to support other transport schemes. So far, they’ve included doubling the size of the tram network, redeveloping Nottingham Station, and introducing what the council says is one of Europe’s largest fleets of electric buses.

“It’s also supported the provision of real-time travel information and smart ticketing,” said Liversidge.

Busy car park

But, not everyone agrees with the move. Former Tory education minister Robert Halfon, who has campaigned for lower fuel tax, called the scheme a ‘stealth tax’ on motorists and argued that Reading and Bristol councils shouldn’t introduce similar plans.

“Not only will this cause hardship to staff, but it will hit businesses hugely,” he told The Sun. “It’s a war on motorists and it has to stop.”

Bristol’s initial plan was to charge firms £1 per day per space, but it scrapped that idea in 2012 and instead will look at the higher-priced option to generate more cash. The city is said to be considering the scheme to reduce congestion and raise money for a new underground metro.

Reading’s plans are at an earlier stage, and if put in place would raise money for pollution-reducing initiatives such as park-and-ride schemes.

“Nottingham’s success is proven in the fact that the city has the highest level of bus/tram usage outside London, and has seen lower congestion growth than England as a whole,” said Liversidge.

“There is also no evidence of businesses having left the city, or ruled out locating here, as a result.”


 

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