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Nottingham Workplace Parking Levy Charges Rise!

Nottingham City Council has incurred the anger of the city's business community once again by increasing its already unpopular workplace parking levy (WPL) by sixteen per cent. Despite this reaction, the charge looks as if it is here to stay. Indeed, several other cities are considering similar schemes.

What is the Levy?

The WPL was launched in Nottingham in April 2012. Companies with eleven or more parking spaces were required to pay a charge of £288 per space. This has recently been increased to £334.

The idea behind the scheme is to reduce the number of cars coming into the city and to raise funds for more sustainable forms of transport. In Nottingham's case the plan is to extend the city's tram network and to improve its stations. This is a long-term project which the Council says will make it necessary for the workplace parking levy to be in place for at least another twenty years.

How has it Affected Business?

The response of the city's business community to the WPL has been overwhelmingly negative. At the forefront of the opposition has been Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire Chamber of Commerce who complain that the scheme is placing an additional burden on firms at a time when companies are struggling to continue trading and maintain jobs in the city.

"Although one or two have left, most firms seem to be resigned to the fact that the charge is here to stay."

However, the Chamber of Commerce's predicted mass exit of businesses from the city has not materialised; although one or two have left, most firms seem to be resigned to the fact that the charge is here to stay. Most companies, in fact, accept that the Council's overall aim of an efficient, sustainable public transport network will be good for the city and good for business.

What are the Options for Business?

But even if the ultimate aim of the WPL is one that most city businesses are happy to support, they still have to contend with the financial burden that the charge places on them. At £334 per head the annual costs can soon mount up, which reduces the company's bottom line and in particularly vulnerable firms can result in a loss of jobs.

Some companies, particularly larger ones like Imperial Tobacco, have passed part of the cost on to employees by making an annual charge for parking spaces. Several smaller firms have reduced their number of parking spaces to a figure below the threshold and have encouraged employees to use public transport or green alternatives such as cycling to work.

"Some companies, particularly larger ones, have passed part of the cost on to employees by making an annual charge for parking spaces."

Another option which businesses are being encouraged to consider is the workplace parking scheme. This national scheme is one of HMRC's 'salary sacrifice' arrangements. Although the basis of the scheme is that each employee should pay for a contract parking space near the workplace, the charge for this is recovered by payroll deduction. This means that staff can save a considerable amount of money through tax and NI relief. The company saves too as their Employer's NI burden is also reduced.

The WPL is here to stay. Indeed it is likely to spread to other cities. While companies will continue to express their views, the priority now seems to be switching to how firms can mitigate the effects of the scheme on their business.

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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