Car park. Photo: heartbeaz/CC
Car park. Photo: heartbeaz/CC

Heather Rawling, Leicester Socialist Party

Leicester Labour council plan to charge employers £550 a year for every parking space in the city. The council’s own literature suggests: “Employers may want to pass the charges on to their employees”.

This is another financial burden on workers, already hit by the cost-of-living crisis. The charge would be linked to inflation, so could cost even more.

The council says that it needs money for its transport plan – claiming that this will support the needs of 60,000 new homes, achieve net-zero carbon by 2030, improve air quality and walking/cycling targets.

The council plans to raise £95 million over ten years. But this money will go to private bus owners making a profit.

We need a decent transport system. But the council should be demanding money from the government not the workers!

Even the council admits its plan would take eight years to complete. In the meantime, employers will pass the levy onto workers, without any immediate improvement in the frequency and accessibility of buses.

Public sector union Unison, the National Education Union and bakers’ union BFAWU have all passed resolutions opposing the Leicester parking levy.

The Socialist Party is in favour of taking measures to tackle the climate crisis. But the current public transport system doesn’t meet the needs of workers doing shifts, picking up children from school etc.

Why should workers pay for this when just 100 companies have been responsible for 70% of greenhouse gas emissions since 1988?

Leicester Labour council has slashed local services as the government has cut funding. But Leicester Council has hundreds of millions of pounds in reserves.

It could use those reserves to reverse cuts and start to improve public transport locally. That has to be part of building a huge campaign to force the money needed from the government.

Leicester Socialist Party says:

  • Scrap the Workplace Parking Levy
  • Public transport should be publicly owned, subsidised and democratically run
  • Trade unions and communities to democratically plan a sustainable transport plan
  • The council must use its reserves to buy time to build a mass campaign to demand extra funding from the government