Every day brings more bad news for that most vilified of person, the motorist. It seems now that councils have resurrected the scheme to charge workers for their work car parking spaces.
The Telegraph reports that many councils have already started or are considering moving toward that goal.

The arguments in its favour cover the usual ground. It’s green and eases congestion as it might make some people not drive to work. It also ‘redresses’ the balance between those that get a free parking space with their work and those that don’t.

But in reality, the only thing that has changed is that the councils who would benefit from such a scheme are desperate for new revenue because of the government cuts. There hasn’t suddenly been a flood of new cars onto the roads, probably just the opposite.

It’s like some sort of mantra:

“What do we need?”

“More tax!”

“Where do we get it?

“The motorist!”

You can tell it’s a revenue generator, because if it was really designed to change behaviour it would be more that the £250-£350 per year most councils seem to want to charge. Just enough to get sufficient money rolling in while we get people used to the idea but we want to make sure the stream is steady. If everyone was able to suddenly start walking and bussing in from tomorrow and no cars came in for them to impose this charge on, they would tax the busses and pavements instead.

The truth is that councils, just like all public bodies, will not impose cuts on themselves. As income dries up, instead of cutting the cloth to fit the income they invent new revenue streams. But unlike business that relies upon innovation, service and quality to get extra income, the council just uses a pen to sign in new local laws. That to me is an abuse of position where they have no pre-arranged public mandate to do so.

Central government has imposed a public sector cost squeeze for a reason. If councils try to by-pass it they are actually undoing the mandated government’s work and intent. It stops the council having to cut costs by taking money away from the potential consumer.

The coalition need to stamp on this in the same way that excessive council tax rises have been limited by central government in the past.

As Ed West puts it [1] “To punish motorists and employers during a time of recession, when traffic is the least of everyone's worries and employment is the most, is a sure sign that a bureaucracy is interested only in its own survival and not that of the citizens it serves. It's time the Conservatives fulfilled their election promise to "fire up the Quattro" and put taxpayers in the driving seat”.

[1] www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/road-and-rail-transport/7959266/City-councils-wage-a-new-war-on-motorists.html

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