Good night-out on Friday. Best restaurant in Glasgow (Sarti), best soup on Glasgow (golden beans, scarlet tomatoes, deep-green cabbage), and the best pizza in Glasgow (blackened bubbled dough, vivid red chilli, gorgonzola with a flavour that lasts til Thursday). I’ve been going to Sarti’s for 30 years now and I want to go for 30 more.

But the staff at the restaurant have something on their minds, and in between big beautiful spoonfuls of ribolitta, I listened to one of the owners, Renato, explain the consequences of it all. Like a lot of other restaurateurs in Glasgow, he said, he’s concerned about how his business, his staff, and his customers are going to be affected by a decision that’s been taken by Glasgow City Council: the 10pm rule.

If you don’t know what the 10pm rule is, you soon will (when you get your first big fat fine for breaking it). Basically, Glasgow is divided into around 20 parking zones and in some, the residential ones, you need to pay from 8am to 10pm (or buy a permit if you live there). In Kelvingrove, it’s even stricter: you can only park for free there between midnight and 8am, which means never basically.

But, in the centre of town, it’s a little different and a little more reasonable, or at least it has been up until now. Before 6pm, you have to pay, but after that it’s free, meaning you can come into the city for the evening to shop, or go to the pictures, or drop someone at the station, have dinner at Sarti’s, whatever, without facing an extra charge for taking the car. That’s the way it’s been for a long, long time.

But now the council, with its remarkable talent for making decisions that are wrong for Glasgow, has decided everyone will now have to pay until 10pm. The council also claims, with its equally remarkable talent for not saying what’s really going on, that the parking charges are being “standardised”. “By standardising parking hours across all zones,” they say, “we are aiming to provide the maximum benefit for permit holders seven days a week.” When are they going to stop coming out with this stuff?

The reality, the beginning and end of it, is that it’s an earner for the council: there are hundreds of thousands of parking fees and parking fines that they aren’t getting their hands on just now and so they want to change the rules. And to some extent, I get it: councils, even Glasgow’s SNP one, have been treated badly by the Scottish Government: squeezed, skin, juice, pips, n all, like a big Italian tomato destined for a pot of ribolitta. The council is desperate for money.

But charging for parking til 10pm is the wrong way to get it because it will inflict multiple hits on several groups of Glaswegians who deserve better. As Renato of Sarti’s explained to me, there are basically three groups of people who are going to be affected by this, three groups of people to whom Glasgow City Council has a duty not to make their lives worse.

First: the staff who work at Sarti’s and lots of other restaurants and businesses like it. Their shifts are often evening-to-late and the current rules mean they can take their car into town, do their job, and go home without incurring extra costs. After the change however, the council will be charging them £10 or more per shift per day because they happen to work in the centre of Glasgow.

Second group affected: the owners of Sarti’s and other businesses. You know the state of Sauchiehall Street, you’ve been there and seen the wreckage, and you know that the shutters are coming down with a horrendous noise on lots of businesses, particularly restaurants and pubs. Sarti’s is still there because it’s an institution and it’s brilliant, but lots of other restaurants have shut and the last thing the survivors need is extra costs and an extra threat to their customers.

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Which brings us to the third category: the customers themselves. Eating out can be expensive, going out can be expensive, and for lots of people (me included) going into town involves working out how much you’re going to spend. Businesses including Sarti’s and others point out that for some people, an extra charge for parking may be too much for them and they may just stay at home instead or go somewhere else. For businesses on the edge, or on tight profit margins, it could be disastrous.

The obvious question for the council – this exasperating, tone-deaf council – is why they would want to make things harder for all the people I’ve just talked about. They suggest that they want to “encourage a shift to more sustainable forms of transport” but why not try positive encouragement such as improving public transport rather than negative encouragement such as slapping extra charges on people with cars, who do not necessarily have lots of money? And I don’t believe the stuff about sustainable transport anyway; it’s all about the money.

You may think some of the criticism of the 10pm rule comes from a position of privilege – people swanning into town in their cars to eat at nice restaurants – but the exact opposite is the case: it’s about people who work in hospitality and don’t necessarily earn heaps of money; it’s about people running small businesses and worrying about the accounts, and profit margins, and survival; and it’s about Glaswegians who have to think carefully about how they spend their cash. These are the people the council wants to charge more: £10 please, and another, and another. I’m trying to think of a phrase to sum it up. How about this one? Institutional greed.

Sadly, there’s another, even bigger factor at play as well, something to which the council appears to be showing a kind of wilful ignorance: the consequences for the economy of Glasgow. The middle of the city is in dire straits – you know that, I know that, everyone knows that – and yet the council places hurdles and barriers in front of people who might want to go there to work, live, shop, or have fun: planning rules, business rates, LEZ, the neglect of the buildings and infrastructure, the litter, the litter, the litter, and now the 10pm parking rule and the beady-eyed tabard-wearers who will enforce it with glee. I’m trying not to get angry about this. I’m failing.

But at least there’s still a chance, I think, I hope. The council says the decision has been made, that’s that, but there’s no indication on when it might be introduced which suggests it could still be reversed and I urge the council to do so for the reasons I’ve explained, and the people I’ve highlighted. I’m thinking what the city used to be like when I moved here in the 90s. I’m remembering eating at Sarti’s for the first time and how it became my favourite restaurant all at once. It’s still there, thank goodness, but a lot of the other places are gone. So don’t push the survivors under as well. Don’t make it worse. Don’t go ahead with this charge.