Almost a year ago I wrote a blog for this very same page called ‘paying the price for a space’ after the workplace parking levy was given the go-ahead in Nottingham. Now almost twelve months on, there have been reports that other councils across the country are pushing ahead with plans to charge for parking at workplaces. Authorities said to be considering a levy include Bristol, York, Devon, Hampshire, Leeds, Bournemouth, South Somerset and Wiltshire.

From 2012, the Nottingham scheme will charge employers offering more than ten parking spaces for staff an annual charge of £250 for each space. News reports this week suggest that other authorities are also considering the levy which would be charged either to the employer or the employee.

For employers it is a tough decision whether to pay the charge as an employee benefit, which would then be taxed, or to pass the cost on to the employee. It could also end up being an administrative headache, working out the fair allocation of charges across workers who are part time, for example, car share or aren’t office based five days a week. For small companies it is a major expense and for larger companies offering hundreds of spaces, it will certainly add up to huge sums of money. This will surely have an impact on where businesses locate their premises.

I remember an article by the British Chambers of Commerce last year which said that if every eligible council covered by the consultation adopted the Workplace Parking Levy then businesses would be left with a huge cost of £3.4 billion. Now I don’t think we’re talking about the levy being introduced on such a large scale at the moment and these schemes do take some time to get to implementation. However, it is a source of concern for businesses and their employees who are already facing tough financial challenges.

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