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Parking in Westminster is a profitable business, not a “revenue neutral” one

January 26, 2010

Who could have possibly guessed that a public authority that used to be considered as the Tory Golden Council would now be the subject of so much bad publicity?

We initially thought that the introduction of a charge, that subsequently turned out to be a stealth tax, on motorcycle parking in the Central London Borough of Westminster was just an isolated case to punish a group of road users for using a non-congestant, efficient, reliable, cheaper and less polluting mode of transport. Not only this tax is a punitive attempt by Conservative Councillor Danny Chalkley to discourage the use of motorbikes and scooters in Central London, but is also a way of raising substantial revenue without any effort and investment.

When we actually found out that Westminster Council were far more interested in spreading their motorcycle parking tax nationally, across the United Kingdom, than just enforcing it in their own borough, we thought that this was just going a step too far.

Back in March 2008, 5 months before the introduction of their bike parking tax on an trial basis, Westminster parking boys (Councillor Danny Chalkley, Kevin Goad and Alastair Gilchrist) were already looking at rolling it out nationally through their Partnerships in Parking (PiP) scheme, which is currently the subject of an investigation by the European Commission for potential breach of European law in setting up the Verrus pay by phone parking technology, which the scheme blatantly encourages other councils to use, without going through the required tendering process to allow fair competition between suppliers within the European Union. Not to mention that the European Commission is also investigating the manner in which the same Verrus pay by phone parking technology was implemented in Westminster alone, as they believe the Council did not properly carry out the required tendering process, even within their own borough. All this could have severe consequences for Westminster City Council, their pay by phone parking strategy and PiP scheme, which could both be seriously compromised. Let’s wait and see the verdict.

Newspapers this week are full of articles about parking in Westminster. The BBC have managed to get hold of an internal report in which it is clearly disclosed that Westminster Council has an enormous budget overspend of £22 million and, for this reason, they are considering extending their parking controlled hours from 6.30pm to midnight, Monday to Saturday. The hilarious thing is when Councillor Danny chalkley denies in a TV interview that his proposal is to raise revenue, but instead to manage road traffic and kerb space in Westminster. Yeah right, who’s going to believe another lie of his? Even major newspapers (you will find the links at the end of this post) report that Danny Chalkley is only interested in revenue rasing to address the £22 million budget overspend, resulting from the mistakes made by some incompetent Tory Councillors, who have proved their inability to manage taxpayers’ money effectively.

We now leave you with a quote that we have spotted in today’s Evening Standard:-

“If Chalkley were concerned about traffic circulation he would deal with the chief cause of congestion, his own obsession with red lights and one-way streets and the roadworks that have left both him and the Mayor, Boris Johnson, helpless in the face of London’s road-digging anarchists. He should cure this before making further assaults on other road users.

Chalkley knows this is not the issue. He is concerned not with keeping traffic moving but with revenue. His council now raises far more from motorists in parking charges and fines (£81 million) than it does even from council tax (£48 million). This is a serious fiscal distortion. What should be a local tax on residential and business space is constrained by government rate-capping. As a result, pressure to find extra resources for the council is diverted to other revenues, almost entirely parking and traffic fines. They now raise £560 million across London as a whole and constitute nothing more than a supertax”.

And after all that, the same Chalkley dares to say that his motorcycle parking tax is “revenue neutral”…! It will certainly be the case in a few weeks time if he continues to waste thousands of taxpayers’ money in constantly replacing and cleaning vandalised motorcycle parking signs across his broken borough.

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Further reading:-

BBC – London council “misleading” over “illegal parking plan”

BBC – Westminster Council parking plan designed to net £7m

Evening Standard – Westminster to ban free parking in the evening

Evening Standard – Why the parking war on drivers? Well, it’s a nice earner

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Please join and support the campaign to stop Westminster Council from stealth taxing motorcyclists to park before their scheme spreads all over the UK and the rest of Europe. For further details, visit http://www.notobikeparkingtax.com/

Rejoignez le groupe de manifestants contre le stationnement payant des motocyclistes a Westminster avant que cela ne se propage dans le reste du Royaume-Uni et l’Union Europeenne. Pour plus d’informations, consultez http://www.notobikeparkingtax.com/

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If you have a story you would like to see published on UK France Bikers.com, please contact us here.

Si vous avez une experience a partager et que vous souhaiteriez voir publiee sur UK France Bikers.com, n’hesitez pas a nous contacter en cliquant ici.

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3 Comments
  1. BigArt permalink

    I love the term “overspend” – somehow, this means something very different in WCCs edition of the OED than in my copy. In truth we’re talking about £15m lost on a crap camera system and over £3m in unpaid fines by foreign diplomates written off by the Council. If I ‘overspent’ £220 at work I’d expect a severe reprimand on behalf of my clients and I’m guessing a short walk to unemployment if I did it again. About time the untouchables at WCC were shown the door.

  2. Bandit permalink

    This shows the absurdity of the system. How can they ‘lose’ £3m in parking fine from foreign diplomats? They were never going to get it anyway and WCC should not include it in their revenue stream.
    The crassest element is that the drone CEOs continue to ticket everything regardless, in their attempt to meet their targets (not the ones that WCC deny; the explicit ones that get them overtime & weekend work and clean toilet paper).
    If CEOs were penalised for incorrectly issued tickets, the whole system would be much fairer.
    But what is fair when those we elect continue to dream up new and evil ways to deprive us of our hard-earned cash to pay for their incompetence..?

  3. UK France Bikers permalink

    BigArt, I think your comment is very well made. Westminster councillors should be thankful they work in the public sector as, had they been working in the private sector, they wouldn’t last for long with all their mistakes!

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