Workplace Parking Levy begins in Nottingham

Capital FM Arena
Image caption The Capital FM Arena is paying most of the levy for its employees

A levy which charges employers for their staff to park at work has begun in Nottingham.

Employers with 11 or more parking spaces now have to pay Nottingham City Council £288 a year per space under the Workplace Parking Levy.

Many employers have decided to pass on some or all of the charge to their staff while some have reduced their numbers of car parking spaces.

Bristol City Council is considering a similar scheme.

The Nottingham scheme will raise £2m less than the council predicted because employers have registered fewer spaces than expected.

Among the employees avoiding the charge is Kofi Ohene-Djan from the Capital FM Arena.

"I'm going to be cycling in," he said.

"I live in Nottingham so I'm going to be on my bike."

'Tax on work'

Mr Ohene-Djan's colleagues have been given the option of paying their employer £52 per year for a parking permit.

The arena will pay the remainder of the Workplace Parking Levy, which rises to £380 by 2015.

Motoring organisations the AA and the RAC both predicted that the scheme will damage the economy.

AA president Edmund King said: "At a time when drivers are facing record prices at the pumps, further charges for parking at work are the last thing they need.

"This damaging 'tax on work' should be stopped from spreading elsewhere as it will damage the economy and hit employees who just can't afford it."

Some employers exempt

Mr Ohene-Djan was asked if he wanted to pay for a permit when he started his job last month.

"I probably would have done a bit of both [cycling and driving] but I will definitely be on my bike now," he said.

Employers exempt from paying the levy include the Best Western Hotel, on Mansfield Road, Carrington.

General manager Phil Rea said: "We are not affected because it only affects staff parking.

"At any one time I don't have more than seven staff cars on the car park."

Employers have had to register spaces from 1 October, but charging was timed to begin from this financial year.

The council has introduced the levy to pay for transport improvements, including the extension of Nottingham's tram network.

Councillor Jane Urquhart, who is in charge of transport, said the council still expected to meet its target over the 23-year period of the levy, generating an average of £14m a year.

It will raise £8m this year rather than the £10m expected.

Professor Stephen Glaister, director of the RAC Foundation, said: "The council blames commuters for Nottingham's congestion, but people travelling in to the city to work make it the prosperous place it is.

"Officials recognise many firms might simply pass the charges on to employees, adding another financial burden on to car owners already facing crippling running costs."

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