Thousands of residents from the Scottish Borders who work in Edinburgh face being hammered by a planned Car Park Tax, warned South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth.

The comments come after SNP and Green Party MSPs on the Scottish Parliament’s Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee today (19 June) voted to amend the Transport Bill to include plans for Workplace Parking Levy.

The levy, which would place a charge on a parking space at a workplace, can be introduced by a council anywhere in Scotland and Edinburgh City Council have already indicated they want to bring forward proposals for such a levy in the city.

During the Committee debate Colin Smyth highlighted the fact that if Edinburgh City Council introduced a levy, residents from the Borders who use their car to travel to the city for work would have to pay up. However, the funds raised from the levy would be kept by Edinburgh City Council so none would spent on improving public transport in the Borders. That’s despite the fact that the lack of public transport in the Borders is often the reason residents are forced to use their car to travel to work in Edinburgh.

 South Scotland MSP and Scottish Labour Transport spokesperson Colin Smyth said:

“This Car Park Tax is an attack on workers that will hit the lowest paid hardest but will do little to tackle congestion to plug the huge holes in council budgets which are facing £230 million more cuts this year, putting lifeline services at risk for some of the poorest in our communities. A Chief Executive of a big company could pay the same as a care worker on the living wage hammering those that can least afford it.”

“Edinburgh City Council have already made clear they are keen to implement the tax. This will mean that thousands of workers from the Borders who have to use their car to get to work in Edinburgh because of the lack of public transport will be faced with a bill of hundreds of pounds a year. Yet because the levy will be introduced in Edinburgh local people including Councillors in the Borders will have no say over the levy and not a single penny raised from Borders residents will be spent on improving public transport in the Borders. So even if the Borders don’t introduce a levy, local residents who work in Edinburgh will still be hammered by the car park tax”.

“Scottish Labour will fight every step of the way to oppose this regressive and ill-thought tax on Borderers”

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