Tuesday, 24 August 2010

A note to Councillors with parking £-signs in their eyes

Much media interest yesterday in Nottingham City Council's plans to impose a £250 (rising to £350 by 2014) per parking place levy on all companies which offer 11 or more parking places for their employees. Apparently other councils in Bristol, York, Devon, Hampshire, Leeds, Bournemouth, South Somerset and Wiltshire are also considering introducing similar schemes in their area. A spokesperson from Nottingham City Council on R4 yesterday said the idea was to use the revenue raised to fund transport improvements, including new road arrangements and further tram lines in the City.

In these straightened times were councils are looking at large funding cuts it may be a natural response for them to consider trying to raise revenue from other sources - however I would caution Anglesey County Council not to go down this route. Why?

  • Anglesey's economy is contracting, hundreds of jobs have been lost during the recent recession, and unemployment here is the highest in North Wales. To secure the Island's future there can be no substitute to the nurture and support of private enterprise on the Island - especially small businesses. This parking levy would directly affect the cash-flow of existing businesses at a difficult time and act as a disincentive for other companies to set-up on the Island. Anglesey County Council may be facing cuts, but the Island cannot afford anything which might act as a drag on our local businesses.
  • Affected businesses may pass on this extra cost to their workers. As average earnings  were approx. £396 per week in 2007, compared with £415 per week in Wales and £456 per week in the UK, an additional £250 a year bill for parking at work would further reduce already low average earnings.
  • Being a rural area most people need cars to travel to and from work. Anglesey's pubic transport system is not sufficiently robust to support more persons using it to travel to work.
  • Even if it was possible to use public transport to get to work, the facts are that people may still need to use cars for a number of reasons. One significant reason would be to deliver young children to daycare centres on the way to work. Daycare is already exceptionally expensive in the UK, without having to face a levy for then parking a car at work.
  • Improving transport improvements are incredibly expensive - I am sceptical that the amount of money this proposal would raise on Anglesey would even make a little dent in even a modest roadbuilding or other transport scheme.
  • Although I understand that Councils technically have had the power to impose workplace parking levies for a decade, I am extremely uncomfortable with idea of local government interfering unnecessarily or imposing a levy on what goes on legitimately on private land.

...I could go on but I think I have made my point. I would urge Anglesey County Council to look at where it can deliver improved services at a lower costs, before it simply seeks to find alternative revenue streams to sustain its current processes. If private businesses are able to deliver better, higher-spec'd products/services at a lower price every year then there is no reason why the costs for government run services should always invariably be rising.

Anyway, here's my message to any Councillors who have £ signs in their eyes after reading about Nottingham City Council's proposals: don't do it. 

However, if you are not convinced by these arguments, then put proposals to impose workplace levies in your manifestos and campaign on them in the 2012 local elections (which reminds me, we are still waiting to see the manifestos of the Original Independents, Menai Group, and Anglesey Forward).


Puck said...

"we are still waiting to see the manifestos of the Original Independents, Menai Group, and Anglesey Forward"

If they have the degree of urgency when filling their expense forms, then they must be saving us a fortune.

Puck said...

doh - that should read "same degree of urgency"

The Great Councillini said...

"the idea was to use the revenue raised to fund transport improvements, including new road arrangements and further tram lines in the City."

Well, they might do, but there's at least an equal chance the money will disappear into MD payoffs and other nonsense.

Good to see trams being promoted, but new roads? I thought Councils were promoting green transport? Most officers at Llangefni seem to have Range Rover 4x4s and large 'executive' (sod your climate change) cars. I doubt we'll see any trams on Anglesey, but maybe they could use the dosh to get the Amlwch line open at long last?

I agree entirely with the sentiment that Councils should keep as far away as possible from private matters.

Ultimately, we're in the middle of not only necessary but ideological changes to Britain's society. We're in undercover Thatcherism mode: 'You want it? Then pay, you working class scum! Can't pay? Tough, mate!' Crudely put, perhaps, but not too far from what's going on.

Anonymous said...

As far as Anglesey County Council, keeping out of "Private Matters" are concerned, tell that to the Legal Department when they get involved to influencing the Ombudsman in Complaints by members of the Public.

The Red Flag said...

Think you'll find - if you dig deeper - that this is a sort of volunatry experimental hors d'ouevres and that the long term idea is to force (not make or persuade - force) people to start realigning their lives for when the cost of motor transport in general becomes frighteningly expensive. That time by the way is not that far away and will not arrive slowly. It will happen very quickly once the dreaded 'Peak Oil' takes effect.

The long term aim is to get people to live, work and shop in a very close area. Already in the big cities flats are built without parking spaces specifically to not attract car owners into them. You may think 'what a stupid idea' but it's not an idea - it's aready happening and the pressure will only increase.

Norma said...

To clarify, Nottingham’s Workplace Parking Levy proposals have been in the pipeline for 10 years, long before the current financial downturn and when the economy was more buoyant. Revenue raised was then, and still is, specifically earmarked to help improve the transport links in and out of the city – an extended tram network, the redevelopment of Nottingham railway station and the Link bus network, including some free buses, between park and ride sites and the city centre, key employment sites, the two hospital sites, East Midlands Airport and the city’s two universities.

The Red Flag said...

And that's exactly how it should be norma.

Anonymous said...

There is a new charge about to be introduced where pedestrians will have to pay for using the pavement. Extensive study proves that it is pedestrians and only pedestrians who are wearing away the pavements. Also, if a pedestrian stops it is likely contracted personnel will impose 'Stopping Fines' which are intended to keep the flow of walkers moving.

Anonymous said...

Anon 23.18 Did you know that the CC have another stunning plan. They are to engage 'Pavement Wardens' the idea is that anyone intending using a pavement in the county will have to register in Llangefni. At the CC offices it will cost 15 p.a. or if you pay a Warden it will cost £20. When registering each person will have to give evidence that they have insurance just in case they 'bump someone over' Then, each time one uses a pavement there will be a pavement usage fee. The usage fee is yet to be determined BUT one will have the option of making a One Off payment in Llangefni to cover a year. An I Am Registered Badge will be given. This scheme will not help maintain pavements but it will help go toward the cost of employing the Wardens.

I am told this is a little like the scheme used at our beaches, seemingly equally dubious.