Tax on company car parking spaces to be levied in Leicester

Labour council wants to hit companies with £550 annual fee for every parking space 

Leicester City Council is planning to introduce a Workplace Parking Levy (WPL) of £550 per car parking space on firms and businesses who provide parking for their staff.

According to a report in the Guardian, the council estimates the plan could help to raise £450million over 10 years - money it says could be invested in electric buses, station upgrades and new cycle paths.

It’s up to companies to decide whether to pass the tax on to drivers or pay for it themselves, but the idea has been condemned as a stealth tax by the business community and opposition parties. Local Lib Dem councillor Nigel Porter told the newspaper “there appears to be an agenda among some members of the Labour party… they want to price people off the road.”

The Labour government under Tony Blair introduced powers for local authorities to tax parking spaces, but the scheme - just one element of a set of policies that detractors at the time called Labour’s war on cars - proved so politically toxic that only Nottingham has thus far implemented the tax.

However, as local authorities struggle to meet air quality commitments, the WPL is definitely on more agendas. Hounslow, Merton, Camden and Brent are among London Boroughs who have shown interest in similar schemes, and new WPLs are officially supported by London Mayor Sadiq Khan’s Transport Strategy - on top of London’s existing ULEZ and Congestion Charge schemes.

The Nottingham WPL scheme is said to have raised £83million since being launched in 2012, and a survey found that it played some part in the decision of 8.6 per cent of commuters to switch out of their cars to other forms of transport.

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