Teachers fail to escape £400 parking tax as details are unveiled

Green MSP John Finnie called for an end to the 'hysterical' opposition to the levy. Picture: TSPL
Green MSP John Finnie called for an end to the 'hysterical' opposition to the levy. Picture: TSPL
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Teachers in Scotland won’t be exempt from a proposed new Workplace Parking Tax, it has emerged, after details of the controversial plan were unveiled last night.

Green MSP John Finnie called for an end to the “hysterical” opposition to the levy as he published his formal amendments to the Transport Bill at Holyrood.

It would allow individual councils to implement the measure which could see workers charged up to £400 a year for parking their cars at work.

MSPs have also launched an online survey to gauge opinion among Scots to the proposals.

NHS staff will be exempt from the charge and teaching leaders had been calling for this to be extended to the profession with a warning that it could see an exodus from the classroom. But the published amendments last night only propose that NHS and hospice staff should be get a “national exemption”, along with disabled workers.

Individual councils could choose to apply a local exemption for teachers and other public sector staff.

The measure was part of a budget deal struck between the Greens and SNP, with the Nationalists set to back the measure at Holyrood. But it has met with a backlash from the public and motoring organisations. The Tories, Labour and Liberal Democrats at Holyrood also oppose the plans, but Mr Finnie called on them to end their “hysterical opposition” in a statement last night.

He said: “The evidence shows that thousands die annually as a result of poor quality air. Yet the Tories, Labour and the Lib Dems all happily attempt to make cheap political points, all the while doing nothing to improve the situation.

“Once again it’s the Scottish Greens who are leading the change on this issue, its now up to the other parties to decide whether they want to take action to save lives or not.”

Holyrood’s rural economy and connectivity committee is launching a online survey to seek views on the proposals and will hold two evidence sessions later this month.

Committee convener Edward Mountain said: “Giving councils this additional power could result in extra financial costs to businesses, public bodies and individual commuters.

“It would also give local authorities who wish to discourage commuting by car an extra tool to achieve this.

“While we know that the idea has divided opinion across Scotland, to help MSPs properly consider this proposal, we want to hear from as many people as possible.”