The Scottish Conservatives have tabled a series of amendments in a bid to protect thousands of workers from the SNP’s hated car park tax.
The party has now submitted 30 proposed changes to the Transport (Scotland) Bill, which includes the introduction of the now notorious £500-a-year workplace parking levy.
Transport spokesman Jamie Greene said the party remains opposed to the car park tax, and would continue to fight to have it removed from the bill.
But he added that if the SNP-Green alliance was determined to force the plans through, efforts should be made to protect some groups from the charge.
The amendments would exempt a series of healthcare workers from the charge, including NHS contractors, air ambulance staff, care home staff, vets and charity workers who specialise in health causes.
Police, fire service staff and Scottish Prison Service employees would also be protected.
Amendments have been tabled to exempt workers who are also in receipt of benefits, including Disability Allowance and Jobseeker’s Allowance.
And under the plans, armed forces personnel would be protected, as would people working on our trains and publicly-owned ferries.
Further exemptions will be lodged later this month in a bid to protect thousands more from the regressive car park tax.
Scottish Conservative transport spokesman Jamie Greene said:
“The SNP government should be in no doubt that its car park tax plans are damaging and unpopular.
“They will do nothing to ease congestion, and will only take even more money from people and businesses who are already struggling to get by.
“However, if this new tax is to be forced through by the SNP and the Greens, we need to ensure key sectors of the workforce are protected.
“By exempting NHS staff, the SNP has already recognised this is necessary.
“This first tranche of amendments will ensure that hard working Scottish employees and volunteers are protected from his regressive tax on parking at their workplace.
“My Scottish Conservative colleagues and I are standing up for these workers, many on low to middle income pay in the public sector, from being targeted by the SNP for simply turning up at work.
“There are many professions and careers where driving to work is a necessity and parts of Scotland where public transport simply does not deliver the goods for commuters.
“We don’t see why those on benefits, in low paid jobs or serving the public across a range of sectors should pay the price for the SNPs backroom budget deal with the Green Party.
“I urge all MSPs to support our amendments and give every hard working public serving Scot a break from this ridiculous tax.”
Notes to editors:
Below is a full list of amendments tabled by the Scottish Conservatives:
Healthcare (Miles Briggs MSP)
Contractors on NHS sites
Private health care providers (GPs, hospital, drug and addiction services etc.)
Veterinary practice staff
Helicopter ambulance staff
Staff at social care facilities
Residential care home staff (public and private)
Health related recovery centres staff (public and private)
Registered charities with a focus on health issues
NHS, social care and hospice volunteers
Welfare (Michelle Ballantyne MSP)
Individuals who are in receipt of the following benefits:
The Job Grant
Employment Support Allowance
Disability Living Allowance
Personal Independence Payment
Carers Allowance and the Carers Allowance Supplement
Justice (Liam Kerr MSP)
Police officers and staff
Prison officers and staff
People travelling to prisons for work
Firefighters and Scottish Fire and Rescue staff
Armed Forces (Maurice Corry MSP)
Serving military personnel
The Royal National Lifeboat Institution
Her Majesty’s Coastguard staff
Transport (Jamie Greene MSP)
People working on trains and railways
Employees of David Macbrayne Ltd
Highland and Island Airport employees
Prestwick Airport employees
Care Sector Workers (Alexander Stewart MSP)
Community Social Workers
Community Care Assistants
In addition, Alexander Stewart has lodged an amendment exempting people working at airports who require a car to get to work (such as Glasgow International Airport which is only accessible by road).