A Government proposal to hand local authorities power to introduce yet another stealth tax, this time on business parking spaces, is the subject of a call-to-action from the British Chambers of Commerce and the Business Centre Association (BCA).
A consultation paper was issued in December by the Government seeking feedback on its proposal to bestow the power to introduce a Workplace Parking Levy (WPL) to local authorities. The right of the Government to bestow such powers was granted in the 2000 Transport Act.
Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce, David Frost, said: “This is a stealth tax on business. Companies are already paying a number of other levies and charges, with more in the pipeline.
“The WPL is purely a means to generate more funds for councils at the expense of local companies and their ability to compete.
“The Government must recognise the financial burden businesses are already under and rule out any possibility of councils taking up the scheme.”
The BCA, the sole trade association for flexible managed space in the UK, has called upon its 650 members to contact local councillors, their local Chambers of Commerce and the consultation panel, to call for an immediate suspension of the proposal.
Executive director of the BCA, Jennifer Brooke added: “At a time when businesses need the most support from Government, they threaten to impose yet more financial demands. Additional burdens like the proposed tax on parking spaces for employees and visitors are inevitably passed down by businesses to their clients, preventing economic growth in the middle of a severe recession.
“A Workplace Parking Levy could realistically cost businesses £1,000s every year on top of the initial implementation costs - representing salaries or much needed capital for reinvestment into the business. Furthermore, it lessens the appeal of out-of-town business locations where a major attraction is the availability of cost-effective parking spaces. Consumers will also suffer if the cost of levy is passed onto them.”
Nottingham City Council has been the first to support the scheme and intends to adopt the parking tax levy once its own proposal has obtained Government approval. The model outlined by Nottingham City Council advocates an additional tax bill of £185 per year on each workplace parking space from April 2010, rising to £350 per parking space by 2014.*
Jennifer Brooke concluded: “A workplace parking tax levy may see employees forced to rely on a public transport system that is in many cases inadequate to meet the demands of today’s flexible workforce which is currently under greater pressure than ever to perform at an optimum level.
“Although the proposal outlines that cash accrued from the levy must be spent on transport improvement by local authorities, it’s highly unlikely that sufficient improvements will be made as quickly as the system becomes unable to cope with the additional demand. The wide ranging impact of such a proposal must be considered by those who see the parking tax levy as a legitimate way to appease residents with an alternative to congestion charge.”
The online petition set up by the British Chambers of Commerce can be found at http://www.britishchambers.org.uk/6798219244930711693/no-stealth-tax-on-parking.html.
* Information sourced from: