Letter to the Evening Standard
If parking charges should not primarily be used to raise revenue, then what excuse might Westminster Council have for their proposed extension of parking restrictions? They might argue it is a way to reduce traffic on clogged streets. Unfortunately this is unlikely to cut much ice by way of explanation. When the central London charging zone was introduced, there was little suggestion it should be a continuous operation because congestion was not felt to be an issue in the evening or at weekends.
Which leaves most motorists believing the move is simply a method of baling out a cash-strapped administration. Westminster proudly boasts that its Council Tax rates are some of the lowest in the country. Perhaps now they should be driven up to address the funding shortfall, so that its residents - rather than visitors driving into the centre of the capital to spend money and go about their business - who balance the books.
All too often motorists are seen as a soft-touch when it comes to raising yet more revenue. But on this occasion their dismay is shared by others far beyond the car lobby. Council chiefs might like to take that into account.
Professor Stephen Glaister
Director, RAC Foundation
89-91 Pall Mall
London SW1Y 5HS
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