Motoring groups slam parking 'stealth tax' for workers

Motoring groups have denounced a new scheme that forces businesses to pay for workers' car parking spaces.

The 'workplace parking levy', launched by Nottingham City Council yesterday, means that companies offering 10 or more parking spaces to employees must pay £288 per space, per year for the privilege.

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The revenue generated is expected to go towards funding local transport projects and it is hoped that the levy will encourage workers to use public transport rather than driving to work.

However, the scheme has been denounced by The British Chambers of Commerce, which labelled the charge a 'stealth tax' on workers, as well as motoring group the AA.

Edmund King, president of the AA, said yesterday: "At a time when drivers are facing record prices at the pumps, further charges for parking at work are the last thing they need.

"Employers and employees already pay vehicle excise duty, fuel duty, company car tax and income tax... This damaging tax on work should be stopped - it will hurt the economy and hit employees who can't afford it."

The levy is currently only in place Nottingham but it is thought Bristol City Council may soon follow suit, and the scheme could eventually be rolled out nationally. Though the charge could be paid by company bosses, there is concern that workers already struggling with ever-increasing fuel costs may end up footing the bill.

Mr King has reportedly already written to Transport Secretary Justine Greening to express his fears, saying: "Employers are threatening to pull out of Nottingham and some workers have even threatened to strike.

"As companies start to face huge penalties because some have not registered properly, the scheme will increasingly be regarded as a tax on jobs and more bureaucracy."

What do you think? Would a workplace parking levy encourage you to leave the car at home? Leave your comments below...