Labours Workplace Parking Levy
We take a look at how the “Workplace Parking Levy” or Car Park Tax as it is better known came into existence and we reveal what it is that the Scottish branch of the UK Labour party does not want you to know…
The car park tax that is being introduced in Scotland is not new, it was first introduced in England in 1998 and legislated for under the “Transport Act 2000” by the then Labour led UK Government.
In July 1998 the Labour led UK Government published its first transport White Paper which examined the possibility of implementing controls over existing private non-residential parking and started making the case generally for and stating that it would go ahead with a Workplace Parking Levy. But labour didn’t want to restrict this levy to just warehouses and factories, they also proposed levying the parking tax on School and Hospital Staff.
The Labour Party proposed that the levy should apply to:
• all parking at categories of property where parking provision is predominantly for use by those at their workplace (as described above) such as parking at offices, factories, warehouses and educational establishments;
• parking for workers at buildings where workplace parking is a minority of total on-site parking – such as parking at retail outlets, leisure centres, hospitals and so on.
The Workplace Parking Levy (England) Regulations 2009 (SI 2009/2085) came into force on the 1st of October that year following repeated requests for a license from Labour led Nottingham council.
Labour Led Nottingham Council became the first to introduce a workplace car park levy after a WPL licence was granted by the Department of Transport
In 2012 Labour led Nottingham council became the first council to introduce a “Workplace Parking Levy” after it successfully gained a license from the Department for TransportWork Place Parking Levy – Nottingham City Council
In 2017 Labour led Cambridge Council said that they were looking to bring in a charge stating “We will work with businesses to develop a Workplace Parking Levy for Cambridge“The Greater Cambridge Partnership
A recent report stated that Labour led Hounslow Council was proposing to introduce a charge of between £500 and £1,000.Fleet News
Labour led Bristol City Council is considering a workplace parking levy which would see businesses charged an annual fee for each car parking space they own or rent.Bristol Live
The London Assembly transport committee has called on Transport for London to encourage the uptake of Workplace Parking Levies.Workplace Parking Levies considered for London
The WPL is a Labour policy, and is one that they tried hard to introduce in Scotland when they first came into power in 1999, in fact, the then leader of the Scottish Labour branch, Donald Dewar even boasted that it would be top of the list of legislation to be introduced. However, there was no evidence to support Labours claims that it would effectively reduce congestion and it was thrown out at committee stage.
It is worth pointing out that the Conservatives have had the chance to overturn this levy in England but have chosen not to.
Now in 2019, ten years after UK Labour first brought the car park tax into legislation in England & Wales we have outcry from Scottish Labour because the Greens want to give Scottish councils the same rights to reduce congestion and lower pollution as their counterparts south of the border.
In amongst all the public shouting and main stream media attention seeking SNP bad stories, the Scottish branch of the Labour party has failed to mention that they actually campaigned for the very same powers in their 2017 Scottish manifesto’s, talk about the kettle calling the pot black, you really couldn’t make this up…
Whether or not you agree with the principles of a Car Park Tax doesn’t negate the fact that it was LABOUR who first introduced it in England and Wales, it was LABOUR who tried to introduce the same legislation in 1999 here in Scotland, and it was LABOUR who included it in their election manifesto’s even as recently as 2017.
Alex Quayle, of Sustainable Transport Scotland, said that Nottingham had seen a reduction in congestion and they’ve also seen revenue raised to invest in sustainable transport, trams, buses and better provision for walking and cycling and that the Nottingham scheme had clearly been very successful in encouraging people to change their commuting habits.
The Greens have seen the benefits that the levy has brought in Nottingham and as the name suggests “Green” means that they are committed to reducing pollution and they see the WPL as a means of doing that.
In Nottingham the tax has raised about £9m a year since it started, with the money required by law to be spent on sustainable transport projects. So far, it has helped to pay for an expansion to the city’s tram network and a redevelopment of its main railway station, as well as supporting its fully-electric park-and-ride bus network and the Robin Hood integrated travel smartcard. Staff parking at hospitals and other NHS premises are exempt from the charge, as are disabled parking spaces and front line emergency services such as the ambulance, police and fire services. The charge does’t apply to parking spaces for motorbikes, customer vehicles, fleet vehicles that are parked at an employer’s premise but are not used to travel to and from work, or vehicles that are used to deliver and collect goods.Workplace parking tax
The Greens used their support position to put leverage on the SNP to introduce the bill in Scotland. This will not see an immediate change to legislation, as it will first need to go through the consultation and legislative processes before it is put to a vote in Holyrood. Once passed it will then be up to each council to decide whether or not they choose to implement the levy.
The Scottish Parliament was set up using the “Additional Member System” which uses a mix of first past the post constituencies and party lists. This means that no single party can have dominance in Holyrood, so in order to govern effectively there needs to be a coalition between two parties. The SNP can only operate effectively with the support of the Greens, very much like the Conservatives have to rely on the DUP to get budgets and legislation passed through Westminster.
There are campaigns for a change to the way MSP’s are elected to Holyrood, with many, including myself, preferring the “Single Transferable Vote” that is used in Scottish local elections. By using this system you get a Parliament where the strength of the parties matches the strength of their support in the country.Read more on Parliamentary Voting Procedures Here