Car park toll for businesses proposed in Scots first

Businesses in Edinburgh could be charged for using their own spaces

A SCOTS city could become only the second in the UK to charge businesses for using their own parking spaces.

The Labour party in Edinburgh say they will look into a ‘workplace parking levy’ if they come to power after local elections in May.

The move would mean companies which provide parking for their employees could be charged almost £300 a year for every space.

The money raised would be used to pay for transport improvements and the scheme may reduce congestion, they said.

But motoring groups slammed the proposals as a ‘tax on business.’

The plans are based on the existing system in Nottingham, which charges businesses £288 for every parking space they make available for staff.

Councillor Lesley Hinds, the transport spokeswoman for the Labour group on the council, said: “We would like to look at the places in Nottingham, where they have done it and where the revenue goes direct to transport projects.

“We won’t consider it at this moment but it is an idea that we will consider further down the line.

“I’m a great believer in learning from other cities and rather than just announcing something it is worth learning first about how it has worked elsewhere.

“It is about looking at other options of where resources can come from.

“In the next few years it will be very difficult to have any capital and you need to look at other ways of raising money.”

The idea was brought up at a party consultation meeting.

A study by the Automobile Association (AA) found 84% of people thought such parking levies were another way of taxing work.

An AA spokesman said: “It is perceived by businesses and commuters as a tax on work because it targets people who are trying to earn an honest wage but have to use the car because public transport is not always feasible.

“Although Edinburgh has a very good transport system, to get flexibility in the 21st Century, the car offers the best way of doing it.

“To force companies to pay for their parking spaces undermines their ability for them to get back on their feet at a time of economic recession, so this is not only discriminating against the motorist but it is also the wrong time.”

Conservative Councillor Allan Jackson said: “I do not think there is harm in looking at this but my concern would be that there may be overflow parking on residential streets, which is already a problem in some areas of the city.”

A proposal to introduce a congestion charge to Edinburgh was overwhelmingly defeated in a public referendum in 2005.