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).