MSPs have backed plans to give councils the power to levy a tax on workplace car parking spaces. The measure could see councils charge businesses an annual fee for every parking space they provide for workers. Opposition parties said the move was a “regressive tax on workers”, but the rural economy committee ultimately backed it by a vote of six to five. Transport Secretary Michael Matheson said it would give councils a “modest and completely discretionary power”. The powers have been added in to the Transport (Scotland) Bill, which will still have to be signed off in a vote of all MSPs. The SNP agreed to back the workplace parking levy proposals as part of a budget deal with the Scottish Greens earlier this year. The Nottingham model sees employers who provide more than 10 parking spaces for their staff pay about £400 every year to the city council for each space, with the charge increasing each year in line with inflation. Some employers choose to foot the bill themselves – while others pass on some or all of the cost to workers. The tax has raised about £9m a year since it started, with the money required by law to be spent on sustainable transport projects. So far, it has helped to pay for an expansion to the city’s tram network and a redevelopment of its main railway station, as well as supporting its fully-electric park-and-ride bus network and the Robin Hood integrated travel smartcard.
BBC 19th June 2019 read more »
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The National 20th June 2019 read more »
MSPs have backed controversial plans for a new parking tax after a key SNP critic executed a ‘spineless’ U-turn to toe the Scottish Government line. Holyrood’s connectivity committee passed a series of votes paving the way for a Workplace Parking Levy (WPL) thanks to Richard Lyle’s conversion. The Uddingston & Bellshill MSP, the swing vote on the 11-member committee, last month called the WPL an “unfair tax” on motorists, comparing it to a 10p hike in their income tax. “I do not agree with charging somebody who is on a low wage £400 a year,” he had said. However Mr Lyle performed a volte-face when it came to the Stage 2 vote on the idea, declaring he now wanted councils to have the power to impose the anti-congestion levy.
Herald 20th June 2019 read more »
If Heathrow’s expansion goes ahead, it will be a sure sign that we are incapable of effectively responding to the climate crisis. Heathrow is able to claim in the headlines that there will be no increase in emissions from its expansion plans – because the nearly 40 per cent extra emissions that will result from the additional flights (hidden in the consultation documents’ small print) will all be magically disappeared through international offsetting. In many ways, the official dissembling around Heathrow expansion and Net Zero is a perfect microcosm for the Conservative government’s response to climate change to date. They accept the science, sure; look, they will even legislate for ambitious targets 30 years in the future, when they will all be dead. What they cannot do is process the meaning of the science for society and the profound implications for government – much less implement any actual policies, inconvenience any corporations, or spend any money in response to what we have all agreed is definitely a crisis. As one caller to Five Live Breakfasts’ radio phone-in yesterday put it: “What I can’t see is why climate change means I have to get rid of my gas boiler, but rich folks down South get hundreds more planes to do all their flying?”
New Statesman 19th June 2019 read more »