Scottish Labour pledges to scrap work parking tax if elected

A Labour government in Scotland would scrap the controversial tax on parking at work after it was given the green light by MSPs last week.

The move could see workers charged up to £400 a year after being voted through at Holyrood. It has sparked an angry backlash among the police and teachers who will be forced to pay while health workers are exempt, however environmentalists say it is necessary to tackle climate change.

Labour leader Richard Leonard has now announced his party will pledge to axe the charge in its manifesto for government in the 2021 Scottish Parliament election.

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But the move was branded an “embarrassment” by the Greens.

Scottish Labour has pledged to axe the work car park charge in its manifesto for government in the 2021 Scottish Parliament election.picture: Lisa Ferguson
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The party will instead build a reliable and more affordable public transport system to encourage people to leave their cars at home, he said.

“The SNP’s car park tax will hit workers in the pocket just for trying to get to their work,” Mr Leonard said.

“Many people across Scotland simply cannot rely on our crumbling transport system because it is more interested in profits than passengers.

“The solution to this problem is not to slap a new tax on getting to work, it is to transform our transport system. That is why Scottish Labour will axe the tax in government, bring our railways into public ownership and build a free bus network to serve communities across the country.”

In a Holyrood vote last week, MSPs rejected a Labour amendment calling for the removal of the proposal from the Transport (Scotland) Bill.

Under the government proposals, local authorities will be given the choice of whether to impose the levy.

Ministers have specified that NHS sites would not be included in any charging scheme.

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Greens co-leader Patrick Harvie said: “Labour may want the Scottish Parliament to be a parochial backwater that discusses parking, but the Scottish Greens have higher ambitions, and we are content to let local councils take decisions to suit local circumstances.

“While we’ve proposed a bold Scottish Green New Deal to tackle the climate crisis and create hundreds of thousands of jobs, Scottish Labour continue to be a perpetual embarrassment with nothing constructive to offer.”

Only two local authorities – Glasgow and Edinburgh – are considering implementing the proposals, according to weekend media reports.

A similar scheme in Nottingham, often cited by the Scottish Government and Greens, sees workers charged £415 annually for taking their car to work.