Business parking 'a stealth tax'

Allowing councils to charge companies that provide staff parking places is a stealth tax on business, according to David Frost, the director-general of the British Chambers of Commerce.

He said: "The scheme is purely a means to generate more funds for councils at the expense of local companies and their ability to compete.

"The Government must recognise the financial burden businesses are already under and rule out any possibility of councils taking up the scheme."

He spoke as Nottingham City Council announced plans to introduce a scheme from April 2010, though junior transport minister Paul Clark said the consultation "should not be interpreted as implying that a decision on the Nottingham scheme has been taken".

He said a 12-week consultation on regulations to govern the schemes has been set up and will report in March next year.

The powers for councils to make businesses pay for providing parking places - intended to encourage car-sharing and use of public transport - were included in the Transport Act 2000.

But regulations relating to fines and disputes were left out and no schemes can be brought in until the details are finalised.

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