Scottish Labour has suggested that lower paid workers will be hardest hit by a car park tax, as it announced it will vote against the plans at its party conference later this week.
The tax, included in this year’s budget following an agreement between the Scottish Government and the Greens, will allow councils to introduce a workplace parking levy, with employers paying an annual tax to the council for every parking space provided for employees.
However, opposition parties at Holyrood claim that the move could cost staff hundreds of pounds each year if the charge is passed on to them.
On Friday, delegates at the Scottish Labour conference will debate and vote on a motion submitted by trade union body ASLEF which calls on the levy to be scrapped.
Scottish Labour transport spokesman Colin Smyth said: “The SNP’s car park tax won’t deliver the investment our public transport system needs, nor tackle the growing threat of climate change.
“It will hit lower paid workers hardest and will do nothing 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.
“Labour supports more power to local government but this is a regressive tax on working people.
“The company boss will pay the same as the company cleaner. The exemptions made by the SNP mean a health board chief executive on over £100,000 a year won’t pay but a carer working for a charity on the minimum wage will.”
SNP MSP George Adam said the levy would allow councils to decide upon which policies work best locally.
He added: “The only local authority anywhere in the UK that currently charges people to park at their work is Labour-run Nottingham council.
“Just two years ago Labour councillors stood on a manifesto to deliver these powers to local authorities. Now they’re gearing up for a major conference debate to tear apart their own policy.
“Labour are all over the place and it’s little wonder they continue to languish in a distant third place in Scottish politics.”
Scottish Greens Transport spokesman John Finnie MSP said: “Labour’s shameless hypocrisy on this issue is embarrassing.
“Our proposals to devolve decision making powers to councils reflect measures the Labour Government took in England 20 years ago.
“The workplace parking levy has been introduced successfully by a Labour council in Nottingham, raising millions for public transport, while cutting emissions and air pollution.
“Labour included proposals for a workplace parking levy in its 2017 local authority election manifestos in Edinburgh and Glasgow.
“Yet, it has decided to ditch this good work … offering no solution to tackle the thousands of air pollution related deaths that occur each year in Scotland.
“I hope the Labour MSPs who hog the Holyrood car park will declare an interest before speaking in the debate.”