Incase you don’t know what I’m about to rant about, Nottingham City Council are proposing to introduce a new not-so-stealth tax on workers who commute by car. It’s called the Workplace Parking Levy, and frankly, it’s the most transparently unfair and ridiculous fundraising exercise in the guise of addressing congestion I’ve ever seen.
The propaganda has you believe that the scheme is to encourage employers to reduce the number of employees travelling to work by car, and the funds raised will be pumped into the public transport infrastructure – most notably ‘phase 2’ of the tram system that will connect it up with Wilford and Beeston. But there’s a few flaws in the logic really, I’ll list three of them.
1. It will be a factor in businesses not locating in Nottingham. Imagine if you had a few hundred employees, and needed a new location – would you have it where you have an additional fee to pay (you see, it’s the business that will get charged, not only with paying it – which they can pass on to their employees, but also for administering it).
2. The public transport system remains all-but useless for many commuters. Self included – for me to get to work via the public transport system it involves two bus rides, two to three times as long, and more money than it would cost me to park at work if this ludicrous scheme comes through.
3. It unfairly targets only a proportion of the causes of congestion. No allowance for the school runs (isn’t it funny, the traffic is always fine when the schools are off!), there’s no allowance for those commuting through and out of Nottingham, and those who are targeted are taxed, and that money spent on something that they’re unable to benefit from!
It seems incredibly unfair to me that the council plan to target people who go to work, pay income tax, national insurance, road tax, car insurance, car maintenance, fuel tax etc etc in order to make up for the evident shortfall in their budget for providing a suitable public transport system to encourage more folks to leave the car at home. That’s the crux of it, really. They acknowledge the system isn’t good enough, yet before it is improved, they plan on taxing those who can’t use it!
It makes my blood boil to think of it – fortunately there’s a sizeable campaign lead by many businesses around Nottingham to stop it. If the City Council were serious about addressing congestion then they would introduce a congestion charge – this could be varied by time, it would impact on all road users in and around the City, and would be a much fairer means of going about things. They would also budget appropriately for improving the public transport infrastructure – and make the cost of public transport more affordable – so that people have a viable choice rather than getting in the car.
Carbon footprints and congestion are all the vogue at the moment, but I can’t believe that this absurd scheme has the nerve to offer itself as a solution to these problems. It is a cash making exercise and nothing more. If you oppose this too, then write to your MP about it and lodge your complaint before it gets passed through. If it does, then I guess we’ll all have to start parking on the street outside the site at work instead, or in the third of the site that does not fall within City Council boundaries!