£2bn car park levy sparks row.
British business has urged the government to drop plans which would give local authorities power over charging for car parking spaces at work. The British Chambers of Commerce said that work-place parking charges could cost British business £2bn a year, even if only a quarter of local authorities imposed the new tax. In a letter to John Prescott, the BCC said it would co-ordinate a campaign through its 126,000 members against the new measure, contained in the Transport Bill which is now going through Parliament. BCC director general Chris Humphries said: ‘The workplace parking levy is a blunt instrument that risks damaging the competitiveness of local economies and displacing vehicles into residential areas.’ The BCC said that as an alternative the government should bring in charges for road users, as long as all the money raised was channelled back into transport spending. It said charging for cars going into town centres could not only raise revenue but could also significantly cut down on congestion.