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[09 AUG 99] THE CHAMBER PRESS RELEASE
Chamber Members Protest On Proposed Parking Levy

A survey conducted by Coventry & Warwickshire Chamber reveals that an overwhelming 91.5 per cent of Coventry businesses are against a proposal to run a pilot Workplace Parking Levy in the city.

More than 1700 Chamber members were asked to comment on the potential impact of the proposal, which is already winning support within some local authorities in the West Midlands.

The scheme is part of the Government's integrated transport policy, currently undergoing consultation. If introduced, Coventry commuters will be charged for parking their cars at work.

According to Chamber president, Peter Howden, with costs estimated at an average 5 per vehicle per week, the levy is set to have a negative impact on local firms.

"If this scheme goes ahead, the levy will, in effect, act as a 'back door' tax on employers," he said.

"In practice, it will also involve yet another tier of paperwork for licensing systems, exemptions and inspections, thus creating a further administrative burden.

"The effects will have most impact on smaller firms which are the lifeblood of the local economy, and this, we believe, will be damaging to the competitiveness of the area."

In addition, Mr Howden believes that the move may also cause friction between employer and employee.

"The results of our survey showed that more than 85 per cent of employers have no intention of paying the levy themselves, and are saying that they will pass any costs on to their employees."

The survey also revealed that the average number of parking spaces per firm is 24, while only 42 per cent of firms are located near a major bus route.

"While we are sympathetic with Government aims to reduce the volume of traffic and pollution, we believe that significant upfront investment in public transport is needed if motorists' behaviour is to be changed.

"In itself, this levy is likely to cause only problems, not least for people in residential areas where there are no parking restrictions.

"It is ironic that the Government has selected the West Midlands for this pilot, the regional economy most dependent on the automotive industry.

"We are urging the Council to think carefully before they make their decision about whether or not to vote for the scheme's introduction in Coventry," he added.

MORE INFORMATION: Dan Carter  01203 654326
   

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CWN / Business / The Chamber / 9 Aug 99

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