HUNDREDS of GPs face paying the new parking tax despite the rest of the NHS being exempt, the Scottish Conservatives have warned.

The Tories said that because most GP practices are privately run by doctors, they could be liable for a Workplace Parking Levy (WPL) of around £400 a year.

The claims it could mean 793 surgeries paying up £1.6m a year.

According to the BMA, the GP salary range in Scotland is between £58,220 and £86,989.

The minority SNP government agreed to let councils set the new charge as part of a budget deal with the Scottish Greens last week.

As part of the agreement, hospitals and NHS workers are to be exempt, and ministers have suggested other public sector workers, such as teachers, might also be let off.

The Tories, who have led the campaign against the WPL, asked independent Holyrood researchers if privately contracted GPs would be exempt.

They said there was not information to give a definitive answer.

Tory health spokesman Miles Briggs said: “The SNP stated NHS workers would be exempt from this ludicrous tax, an admission in itself that it was ill-judged. But now we learn hundreds of GP surgeries would face a penalty totalling around £1.6m every year.

“And that’s being generous, by not including spaces surgeries would have for non-GP staff.

“GP practices are under enough pressure without having to find money to pay this.

“More problems emerge with this tax every day – it’s time for the SNP to drop it altogether.”

Business groups, Labour, the LibDems and even some SNP MSPs have also come out against the WPL, although the SNP leader of Edinburgh City Council has backed it.

Adam McVey also said the charge, which would be levied on employers, ought to be passed on to their staff in order to change their behaviour and reduce congestion.

Finance Secretary Derek Mackay this week admitted there was no economic analysis of the WPL before he agreed to it as a “necessary budget concession” with the Greens.

English councils have been able to set a WPL since 2000, however only Nottingham has done so, charging employers £415 a year for each parking space provided to staff.

Green MSP John Finnie said: “My amendment to the Transport Bill will give local government the kind of power taken for granted in every council in England.

"Trusting our communities to raise funds in a way that suits local circumstances is clearly something that the Tories are scared of.

"If a council chooses to introduce a workplace parking scheme, it would be up to that council to design a scheme and consult on it locally. It’s certainly my intention to draft the amendment in a way that exempts the NHS, as agreed with the Scottish Government." 

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: "Plans to give powers to councils to introduce a Workplace Parking Levy, as already allowed in England, will come forward via an agreed Green Party amendment to the Transport (Scotland) Bill. 

"We have said that this is contingent on the exclusion of hospitals and NHS properties and will be engaging with stakeholders in the run-up to Stage 2 of the Bill to help shape the specifics on the Workplace Parking Levy for the amendment to the Bill.

"Any charge would be at the discretion of local authorities, based on local circumstances."