Workplace parking tax may not hit other public sector staff

Controversial plans to introduce new charges for Scots who park at work are being "sneaked through" without input from those affected, the Tories today claimed.

The workplace parking levy plan has met with a backlash

But more public sector workers - such as teachers and social care staff - could be exempt from the charges along with NHS staff, a spokesman for Nicola Sturgeon today indicated.

The workplace parking levy was among a suite of surprise new taxes unveiled in the Scottish Government's budget deal with the Greens last week. It will be taken forward as an amendment to the Transport Bill at Holyrood.

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John Swinney ‘was opposed’ to workplace parking plan
The workplace parking levy plan has met with a backlash

Tory Finance spokesman Murdo Fraser said: "The SNP has been well and truly caught out.

“In 2017, they said they’d to listen to peoples’ views before considering whether to introduce this plan.

“Michael Matheson is on record just weeks ago admitting they haven’t done so. Yet now they want to sneak it through, all in order to buy off their friends in the Greens.

"With every day that goes by, it’s becoming clear that Derek Mackay’s budget was scrawled by the Greens on the back of a fag packet. The Car Park tax is a complete mess. The SNP must, for once, listen to people and think again.”

Holyrood's rural Affairs and Connectivity committee will consider the proposal at Stage 2 of the Transport Bill, but this is usually too late for any consultation or outside evidence to be taken. Instead it will simply be passed or rejected by MSPs after taking evidence from the minister.

A spokesman for Ms Sturgeon said today the Scottish Government has agreed "in principle" to back the amendment introducing the new charge, but has not seen the detail of this yet.

"We've agreed in principle on it - that we will do something with it but the exact details will be forthcoming," he said.

"We would want it to be done in proper consultation with everybody and take in account of views. We're obviously sensitive to what people say about it on both sides."

The spokesman said he would expect the committee to "take forward consideration of the views of stakeholders, taking evidence etc..."

NHS workers will be exempt from charges in line with broader Government policy, but there have been calls for other public sector workers to be exempt.

Asked if this could happen, the spokesman added: "That is a possibility, yes. The detail is not agreed on yet - that's pending."