Recently, we reported that Brighton and Hove council had introduced parking fees for prime spaces along its busy streets for commercial vehicle drivers, who were up in arms about the fee, arguing that fuel and van insurance was nowhere near as cheap as it had been and they could ill-afford the extra £300 per annum the council had introduced.
Although the fee Nottingham will implement is similar to the charge that Brighton Council introduced, the terms are a whole lot worse, harking back to days of The Sheriff of Nottingham that would have Olde Robin turning in his grave – if anyone really knew where that was.
Nottingham Council plan to impose a practise that was decried publicly by many organisations, including the AA, when the concept was dreamed up back in 2009. It directly affects all companies working in Nottingham City who have car parking spaces for ten or more vehicles. Each individual space attracts a set fee, in this case, Nottingham has decided the price on ‘space’ is £288 per annum. The companies whose premises are subject to the tax can, if they want, pass on that cost to employees.
Thinly disguised as a ruse to get employees to use public transport or car-share, those involved at the time suggested it was simply another method of taxing UK drivers, already struggling to keep up with rising fuel and spiralling car and van insurance renewal costs at the time. As the economic downturn set about the whole of the UK, the plan had, up to this point, been shelved.
The view of 84% of the AA Populus Panel was that this scheme was simply another way of extracting more tax from workers to fund a public transport system they may never use, on totally valid grounds. The bad news for the UK workforce is that more than a quarter, 27%, of the panellists at the time took the dreamers of the scheme’s words to heart and intended to pass on the cost, or part of it, which will rise either in line with inflation or at an optional rate of 3%, to its employees.
Three years on and there has been a similar greeting for the ‘workplace parking tax’ as it will be known. AA president, Edmund King, commented on what a disastrous time this was to implement such a system. In 2009, when renewing van insurance cheaply was difficult enough, motorists are faced with record prices at the pumps and will not take kindly if they have to stump up almost £300 for the privilege of parking where they have to work.
Needless to say, there will be very few merry men – and women – left in Nottingham when the fees start to impact.