Parking space tax would 'hit' businesses

Firms could be facing a huge tax bill on their car parking spaces if a new levy goes ahead, it has been claimed.

The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) said that the Workplace Parking Levy (WPL) would mean that businesses in England could have to pay local authorities a tax charge for providing employees with spaces to park at work.

If it is adopted and if councils apply to enforce the levy, then all businesses will be required to register workplace parking spaces.

Although this would represent an extra administrative burden for many employers, the BCC argued, businesses with ten spaces or more will also have to pay a charge for each space. The levy will start at £185 in 2010, but will rise to £350 by 2014.

At the moment Nottingham City Council has chosen to apply the WPL, and Transport Minister, Geoff Hoon, is to make a decision on the application soon.

A Department of Transport consultation on the levy, the BCC added, could encourage more councils across England to introduce the scheme.

The BCC has calculated that if every eligible council covered by the consultation adopted the WPL, then businesses will be left with costs amounting to £3.4 billion.

The BCC wants Mr Hoon to turn down the Nottingham City Council application, describing the scheme as a stealth tax on businesses, and to drop the proposal altogether on a national basis.

David Frost, the BCC’s director general, said: “If councils go ahead with this oppressive tax, companies and employees will be hit hard at a time when they least need it.

“There is a real risk that towns and cities will see firms refusing to invest and in a worst case scenario relocating elsewhere. This isn’t a risk worth taking for a scheme which will not help reduce congestion.”