Call to halt introduction of 'punishing' workplace parking levy

The scheme is due to come into effect from March 4.

Scottish Conservatives urge ministers to halt introduction of ‘punishing’ workplace parking levy iStock

The Scottish Conservatives have pledged to do “everything” they can to halt the introduction of the workplace parking levy.

It comes ahead of the scheme coming into force in Scotland next month.

Under the plan, councils will be able to decide on whether to impose an annual tax on car parking spaces that are provided by employers.

Businesses will then either have to pay the bill themselves, or they can opt to pass the cost onto workers.

But it has been described as a “senseless tax” that could negatively impact on businesses and their staff.

A debate on the levy will be held at the Scottish Parliament on Wednesday, with the Scottish Conservatives vowing to make a last-ditch attempt to stop its implementation on March 4.

Concerns over the scheme have also been raised by business bosses, with Scottish Retail Consortium director David Lonsdale suggesting it was a “recipe for extra cost and complexity”.

Scottish Conservative transport spokesman Graham Simpson branded the scheme as a “punitive measure” that will not have any benefits for the environment.

“The Scottish Conservatives will do everything we can to halt this punishing new tax,” he said.

“Scottish businesses and their hardworking staff are dreading the introduction of this unfair scheme and many are wondering how they are going to cope with the potentially exorbitant charges.

“As long as the SNP continue to fail to provide Scotland with a public transport system that is affordable and fit-for-purpose, punitive measures like this will have no environmental benefit.

“Instead, this senseless tax will hit businesses and workers hard, slap bang in the middle of a cost-of-living crisis and our recovery from the pandemic.”

Simpson told ministers that it is “not too late” as he urged them to reverse the plans before they are brought in.

He said: “Scots can see right through the SNP’s bluster – this is nothing more than a money-making scheme to help shore up holes in the SNP Government’s inadequate local council funding.

“But it’s not too late to reverse these plans. I urge the SNP to listen to the outcry on all sides and scrap this irresponsible tax before businesses and working Scots bear the brunt.”

A Transport Scotland spokesperson said the workplace parking levy supports the commitment to reducing car kilometres.

The spokesperson said: “Workplace parking licensing schemes have the potential to encourage the use of more sustainable travel, while raising revenue that will be used to improve public and sustainable transport.

“It supports our commitment to reduce car kilometres travelled by 20% by 2030 as part of our climate change goals.

“These new discretionary local powers, which are already held by councils in England and Wales, were welcomed by our local authority partners in COSLA and by local leaders of all parties, as well as Transform Scotland, Friends of the Earth and other transport partners.”

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