Most workers would end up paying levy

The following letter was published earlier today in the Leicester Mercury on behalf of the Campaign Against Leicester’s Workplace Parking Levy.

Over recent months there have been many letters published [in the Leicester Mercury] relating to the City Council’s proposed £550 annual tax on workers who park their cars at work. The vast majority of these letters have opposed the charge, and many of these statements of succinct outrage have just been published in a trade union pamphlet titled “Campaigning Against Leicester’s Workplace Parking Levy” which is being distributed for free by our Campaign:

Yet some remain immune to logic. Hence Leicester’s Green Party, despite being well-read on some matters, appear to be content in ignoring the content of these letters and they continue to support the proposed levy. Making matters worse they remain intent on belittling the devastating impact that that £550 parking charge would have on thousands of low-paid workers.

In her latest letter Leicester Green Party spokesperson Mags Lewis misleads the public by making it sound like the levy would not apply to those workers who fear it the most. She writes: “Low earners or those needing to travel because of unsocial hours or their nature of work can be exempted from charges.” (“Support the clean air bill and the parking levy,” Mercury Mailbox, June 17)

What we do know is that the tax will apply to the employers of 26,000 workers, encompassing 68% of all available workplace parking spaces in the city. And while it is true that some employers may pay the charge for their workers and perhaps use this temporary display of ‘generosity’ to stall on future pay rises for their employees, in most cases (following the example of Notttingham), the levy will be passed directly onto employees, and would take over £6,000 from the pay of these workers over the next ten years.

We urge the city councillors and MPs to do the right thing for us all by opposing the Workplace Parking Levy. We also urge everyone reading this letter to take a few minutes and email their local councillors to ask them to take action to oppose the regressive levy which you can do by typing your postcode onto this web site:

There is no simple ‘silver bullet’ solution that can save the planet and improve our public transport infrastructure. The solution instead lies in the realm of democracy, as it is only the direct action taken by organised workers can force capitalist politicians who are bent on polluting the world and undermining green transport solutions in listening to reason.

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