Council deliberates on workplace parking levy

Oxford County Council is considering a controversial levy on workplace car parking in an attempt to cut road congestion.

However, the proposal which involves charging firms a fee per employee car parking space faces tough opposition from businesses.

The council is set to fund a study of plans to replicate a scheme in Nottingham which is raising £9 million a year for public transport. A similar levy is also being considered in Cambridge.

Supporters of the scheme have said such schemes will cut traffic, reduce pollution and liberate commuter parking spaces for shoppers.

So far only one Nottingham City Council has passed the levy. Commenting on the council’s implementation of the policy, Nick McDonald, the local authority’s transport chief said: “The reality is that we haven't seen a single business leave the city as a result of the workplace parking levy.

"If you look at our inward investment, it's gone up. Start-up businesses have gone up as well.

"It's never an easy thing to introduce policies strongly resisted by the business community. But in this case we felt confident that it was the right move and we have been proved correct. Firms can now see the advantage of being in a forward-looking city that's developing world-class public transport."

However, many businesses have warned the move is simply a tax in disguise.

A spokesperson for Oxfordshire County Council said a decision on the scheme would be made in January.

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