I HAVE been struck by the recent furore that has been created over proposals for a workplace parking levy (WPL) and tourist tax (“Warning that VAT could raise car parking tax to £500 for workers”, The Herald, February 11, and Letters, February 11). It demonstrates how little Holyrood has grown up when it comes to empowering councils.

The Conservatives, true to form, have used these as a means with which to beat the Scottish Government over the head. It will damage the economy, hurt the low-paid and prove unworkable, the normal refrains we have grown used to.

However, as many will be aware many European cities such as Paris and Berlin already have a tourist tax and councils in England have had the power since 2000 to set a WPL, although Nottingham is the only one to have done so to date.

These taxes are an optional charge for councils to set and when it comes to a WPL, NHS workers and hospitals will be exempt and it will only apply to employees with more than a certain number of spaces. As in Nottingham, income generated by the scheme will be hypothecated for spending on transport schemes.

It is hard to imagine any councils pushing forward with WPL and tourist tax schemes, which will take a number of years to impose, in the face of strong public resistance.

The Tories talk of the need to "empower councils" but seem to have collective amnesia when it comes to turning such fine words into practice.

Local governments across Europe raise and collect numerous taxes, it is normal. Twenty years after devolution it is time to let our councils get on with it.

Alex Orr,

Flat 3,

2 Marchmont Road,


IN the Scottish Government's budget, Derek Mackay announced that councils will be able to decide whether to levy a tax on car parking spaces at workplaces, to be paid by employees, amounting to about £400 per year. I understand that it was conceded at the last minute in order to ensure sufficient support from the Green Party to allow the budget to be passed through the Scottish Parliament. I wonder how much thought will be put into the implementation and collection of the levy?

I can only speak for myself, but I work on a part-time, peripatetic basis for a private sector employer who can allocate me work in any of four offices in the central belt.

Two of these offices are rented from private sector landlords, and both within a five-10-minute stroll of a mainline railway station, so when using these offices, I will travel by train, or even bus.

The other two offices are in local authority buildings, and the office space there is shared by local government departments, private sector companies and charitable organisations. Railway stations are also within walking distance, but since use of the train would involve changing routes, or even stations, thus significantly increasing travel to and from work journey time, so I take my car, and park in any vacant space.

Does this mean that I will have to pay £800 or so per year, or can the cost be shared between me and other employees of my employer, or others who also work in that building who use that space when I am working elsewhere?

Makes a change from Brexit, I suppose.

Christopher W Ide,

25 Riverside Road,


East Renfrewshire.

JUST a thought. Will people who work from home most of the time have to pay a tax for parking on their own driveway?

Gordon W Smith,

21 Baronscourt Gardens,


I AM sure your correspondent Brian Crystal (Letters, February 11) will be relieved to know that health workers will be exempt from any workplace parking charge councils may introduce. Regarding David Miller's assertion that the SNP "bought off" the Green Party, in the first place, the SNP didn't hand over £1 billion of tax payers' money to the Greens, and in the second place, if the Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat parties had behaved responsibly and backed Derek Mackay's budget, there would have been no need for the SNP to come to an accommodation with the Greens.

Ruth Marr,

99 Grampian Road,