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Ealing and Northfield

Mahfouz’s stealth tax

In his letter yesterday Cllr Mahfouz continues to maintain the administration’s misinformation regarding parking charges. They are ramping them up outrageously before they make any attempt to control costs.

Work done by the CPZ scrutiny committee, see key paper here, that I lead established that CPZs are being subsidised to the tune of £550K. The administration uses a tenuous argument to inflate this figure to £750K and then uses this as a justification for ramping up charges. They have ignored the work done by the committee that demonstrates that there are many savings to be made in the same area. I don’t suppose we shall hear that charges will go down in future as these savings work their way through the system. Labour are having their cake and eating it.

The Labour cabinet agreed to increase parking charges overall by £1.469 million at their meeting on 14th September, see key paper here. This number is twice their fig leaf number and almost three times the real number they allege to want to cover. Even this number understates the rise in charges.

At the Overview and Scrutiny Committee meeting on 30th September I challenged the service head, Kevin Hagan, to state the extent of sandbagging in the CPZ figures. He stated that it was £885K. This amount was an estimate for the extent to which the higher charges would dissuade people from buying permits and vouchers. It is utterly incredible to me that take up of permits and vouchers will be depressed by the 30% or 40% assumed. Adding the sandbagging to the published saving you get £2.354 million which is over four times the actual subsidy of the CPZ system.

By the council’s own estimate £1.24M of revenue is the equivalent of 1% on the council tax. Labour’s £2.354 million hike in parking charges is therefore the equivalent of a 1.9% rise in council tax. The twist is that this rise will only be borne by drivers and that it comes in three months early on January 1st.