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08:31 on Wednesday
7 March 2001

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Local Directors call for parking cost plans to be scrapped 


Government plans to permit local councils to levy a charge for workplace parking would be very damaging to business, local company directors are warning MPs and councillors.

The Institute of Directors (IoD) has written to all members of the House of Commons Standing Committee currently considering the Transport Bill to raise its concerns about the parking charges.

Stephanie Smye, vice-chairman of the Eastern Branch of the IoD which represents more than 900 Cambridgeshire company directors, said: "The imposition of hat could amount to a very expensive total charge in some locations could seriously damage business profitability and competitiveness."

While supporting the Government's plan for a competitive economy Cambridgeshire directors feat that the parking proposals will actually work against this.

The Commons Committee is due to debate the issue of a workplace parking levy and has been considering road user charging.

Miss Smye said: "Even for larger businesses, one effect of the levy would be higher costs to customers. Many firms would need to pass on some or all of the cost to their employees. The workplace parking proposals could be particularly damaging for small and medium sized enterprises.

"At present there is a lack of realistic alternatives to car use in very many locations such as rural areas and places on the outskirts of Cambridge, Huntingdon and Peterborough. We are concerned that the parking charge proposals would lead to even greater problems then they are intended to solve, by way of costs to business and loss of morale of employees where organisations had to pass on extra charges."

Traffic congestion is very damaging for many businesses and the IoD has given cautious support for suitable administered schemes to tackle this, provided they are cat-neutral to business.

Miss Smye commented: "Rather than go through the expense of enacting the workplace parking levy in the Transport Bill, with all the likely costs to local authorities of consultation and possible implementation in coming years, it would be far better to devote public resources to better schemes. These could in principle include workable road user charging schemes, where absolutely necessary, if they do not add to the cost burden on businesses."

March 2000

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