PLANS for a new tax which would see thousands of workers pay hundreds of pounds a year for a parking space in Glasgow will not see the light of day next year.
Glasgow City Council sources have confirmed that the controversial workplace parking levy will miss the cut for the 2020/21 budget.
The tax is being introduced as part of the Scottish Government’s Transport (Scotland) bill after they reached a deal with the Scottish Greens last year – and would affect more than 55,000 people who travel around the city everyday for work, according to opponents of the scheme.
Under the government proposals, Scotland’s 32 local authorities would get the choice of whether to impose a yearly charge per space on companies, which could be passed on to staff. In one city that charge is £415 annually.
The firms themselves would then decide whether to pass the cost on to staff.
The new local tax power is part of a package of reforms to transport, including a shake-up of bus services and low-emission zones in cities.
The move was hailed by environmental groups, who said it would help “combat congestion and air pollution in our city centres”.
Glasgow City Council has just accepted to spend £75,000 for a feasbility study on imposing the levy.
The council has agreed to get an expert understanding on whether such a levy would work before it could consider whether the policy should be introduced or not.
A spokesman for council said: “A feasibility study will ensure that any future decision this council makes in relation to the workplace parking levy will have a strong evidence base to draw upon.
“Work to establish the study is only just getting underway and will not be concluded prior to the budget being set for the forthcoming financial year 2020/21.”
Figures from the most recent Scottish census reveal that 55,113 journeys made by car originate from the city.
If a workplace has more than 10 parking spaces, it would have to pay up. It is payable by employers but, in most cases, as in Nottingham, the cost is passed down to employees at a £415 per year charge.
Local systems are likely to be modelled on a scheme in Nottingham, the first UK city to have implemented a workplace parking levy, where employers offering more than 10 spaces are charged £415 a year for every space Since Nottingham imposed the levy in 2012 it has raised more than £53m. This has been invested in the tram network, trains and bus services.
In Nottingham 80% of big employers do recoup at least part of it from their workers.
Employers in Nottingham have adopted different ways of reclaiming the money, for example the city council deducts a percentage of annual salary, meaning higher paid workers pay more But outgoing Labour Nottingham City Council leader Jon Collins admitted last year that the project has not reduced congestion.
He said: “It (the WPL) is not a panacea but it has made people think a little differently about how they travel into the city.
“It hasn’t reduced congestion but it stopped the growth of it.
“We are the only big city to have our plans to tackle air pollution signed off by the Government and WPL has been a big part of that.
“People don’t like paying more for stuff – I’m no different – but the important thing is that people fairly quickly got over it.”