Boots ‘outraged’ by workplace parking levy

Boots UK has threatened to move its entire car parking provision across Nottingham’s city boundary to avoid paying the workplace parking levy (WPL) at its headquarters.

The chemist said it was “outrageous” the city council had approved the WPL, after the transport select committee had described the consultation process as “deeply flawed”, reported.

Peter Gibson, director of public policy at Alliance Boots, said: “This will put an additional tax burden of more than £500,000 a year on our business at a time when Nottingham businesses, workers and households will be recovering from a deep recession.”

Earlier this year, Gibson told Personnel Today: “Add to that an increased administrative burden for HR, terser union negotiations and a serious recession, and it’s obvious this is the wrong time to apply this.”

The company’s headquarters straddle both city and county boundaries. There are around 4,500 parking spaces on-site, 3,000 of which are in the city boundary, and 1,500 beyond it.

Councillor Jane Urquhart, Nottingham City Council’s portfolio holder for transport, said: “We are disappointed that Boots, which takes its corporate social responsibility seriously, would suggest building new car parks, and we would hope it will conclude that this is not a solution.”

Small businesses have demanded that the government scrap the legislation, which allows local authorities to charge firms that provide private parking for employees.

The WPL (England) Regulations 2009 will come into force on 1 October 2009, although implementation will not be until 2012 to give employers time to adjust. Under the scheme, companies with 11 or more employee parking spaces will be charged £250 a year for each one, and employers would be free to pass the cost on to their staff.

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