Health campaigners in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland have waded into the debate on Leicester City Council’s proposed Workplace Parking Levy.
Save Our NHS Leicestershire, which draws together public, patients and health care workers, published a statement earlier this week explaining why they could not back the council’s plans.
A spokesperson for Save Our NHS Leicestershire, Tom Barker, stated:
“As a campaign, we are concerned principally with defending the NHS, so issues of public health are of critical importance to us.
“In its current form, the parking levy is a serious threat to the NHS. The NHS is facing a profound crisis on multiple fronts, not least of which is funding. The levy will intensify this by diverting urgently needed funds away from frontline services.
“In reality, however, even though the levy is lower for NHS employers, we know that the levy will be passed on to NHS workers. Leicester is one of the poorest cities in the country and its workforce can ill afford an average £550 levy on their wages, especially during a cost of living crisis.
“There is a well-established link between poverty and poor health. We are extremely concerned that the parking levy could deepen this problem and heap yet more pressure on our health service.
“We share the Council’s concerns about the need to tackle the climate crisis, but this is not the way to do it. It is difficult to see how we can address the climate crisis without challenging large vested interests.
“Instead, we have a proposal which threatens to add to the cost of living crisis faced by thousands of workers whose wages are lagging well behind inflation.
“The reality is that people need an alternative form of affordable transport if they are going to be able to leave their cars at home. This should be buses but bus services are currently privately owned and are inadequate in both the city and the county.”
The Workplace Parking Levy will affect workplaces with 11 or more car parking spaces by asking them to pay £550 per space per year. Its supporters say it will bring in ‘transformational investment’ into Leicester.
Its critics, on the other hand say it is an unaffordable stealth tax on workers, that workers have no choice but to drive to work because the lack of a reliable alternative, and that the policy will only alienate ordinary people from the fight against climate change.
In Nottingham, where a parking levy was introduced in 2012, the city council took the decision to exempt the NHS from paying – something Leicester City Council has chosen not to pursue.
Read the full statement: Our view on Leicester City Council’s proposed Workplace Parking Levy – Save Our NHS Leicestershire
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