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If cities are not business friendly, how can you be employee friendly?

Traffic chaos in our cities, a parking free-for-all and poor public transport links are all bad for business, particularly in the present economic climate. Any sensible business would, therefore, support new local authority initiatives designed to improve the situation. Bristol City Council, however, has recently been forced to drop proposals for a workplace parking levy under pressure from the local business community who feared the plans would severely hit jobs and trade.

Workplace Parking Levy

Bristol's proposed parking levy would have imposed a charge of one pound per vehicle per day for every car parked at local workplaces. Although the money raised was intended to be used for transport infrastructure improvements, it was feared the levy would hit local businesses in the pocket and cause jobs to be lost. Opposing the proposal as not being business friendly, the local branch of the Federation of Small Businesses said: 'It is a completely wrong-headed method of charging. Why should businesses which bring wealth and prosperity into Bristol have to pay for these schemes?'

It was feared the levy would hit local businesses in the pocket and cause jobs to be lost.

Given the Bristol experience, it seems likely that other local authorities will now review their parking levy plans. Whilst everyone wants to see improvements to public transport, the business community is almost unanimous in its view that imposing direct charges on local firms simply for providing parking spaces would be a backward step.

Taking a Business Friendly Approach

Whilst the parking levy concept has been condemned as being unhelpful to business, fortunately there is another government initiative which is both business friendly and employee friendly. The workplace parking scheme is designed to assist employees and their employers by helping with the cost of controlled parking near the workplace.

Fortunately there is another government initiative which is both business friendly and employee friendly.

With the support and advice of a specialist firm, employers will pay up front for each participating employee to have a parking season ticket near their place of work. The employee will then repay the employer by payroll deductions under HMRC's 'salary sacrifice' scheme. The advantage for both parties in paying this way is that the employee's deductions are tax and NI free and the employer receives Employers' NI relief too. In short, everyone gains from this employee friendly measure. Both the employee and the employer save money and any worries about finding a parking place near work each day are removed.

An Employee Friendly Measure That Stimulates Business

Local politicians and the people who elect them will, of course, make the decision as to whether or not their city should introduce a levy on businesses for parking at the workplace. Whatever one's view, we can all be clear that the salary sacrifice parking scheme offers big savings to employers and employees irrespective of whether or not a parking levy is in place.

So the positive news is that, even in this current recession, there are still options such as this scheme that can help individual employees save money while at the same time making life a little easier for local businesses. Now that really is good news.

The positive news is that, even in this current recession, there are still options such as this scheme that can help individual employees save money while at the same time making life a little easier for local businesses.

Author: Eoin Olivers photo

Author: Eoin Oliver

Eoin Oliver is a web designer and blogger with six years of experience writing content and designing graphics for clients large and small. For the past three years Eoin has been focused on researching and writing about the childcare voucher scheme. When not hard at work, Eoin can be found in the company of his 4-legged companion Layla.

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