In an open letter to residents and businesses in Dumfries and Galloway, Council Leader Elaine Murray has ruled out the use of the Workplace Parking Levy “Parking Tax” and Transient Visitors Levy “Tourist Tax”.
The two Levies are expected to be written into legislation over the coming year with discretion given to local authorities to determine if they wish to use the measures. The introduction of the Levies was part of the SNP/ Green Budget Deal which leaves Dumfries and Galloway Council with a £16million funding gap for the next financial year.
There has been considerable opposition to the ‘Parking Tax’ from local Trade Union representatives who have concerns that local low paid workers could end up forking out hundreds of pounds a year to drive to work.
In her open letter to residents and businesses, Councillor Leader Elaine Murray rules out the use of both levies and confirms there are no plans to implement them in Dumfries and Galloway.
Dumfries and Galloway Councillor Elaine Murray said, “Under my leadership the Council will not be introducing either a Tourist Tax or a Workplace Parking Levy as they are not appropriate for our rural area. Neither address the real challenge facing local authorities which are the cuts in Government funding.
As a direct result of the UK Government cuts in funding by the Scottish Government Dumfries and Galloway Council faces a £16million funding gap, taking the total cuts imposed on our Council to over £100million since 2010.
There has been much debate by local politicians over the use of both of the Tourist Tax and Workplace Parking Levy over the past week. There have never been any plans, or any desire, to implement either of these in Dumfries and Galloway. I would ask local politicians to stand up for our region and argue for a fair funding deal for Dumfries and Galloway which ends the cuts to our Council and to local services.”
Galloway and West Dumfries MSP Finlay Carson has welcomed confirmation that the leader of Dumfries and Galloway Council does not support the introduction of a so-called car parking tax or a tourist tax in the region.
The local MSP had written to Elaine Murray, the leader of the D&G council to ask if she supported the introduction of a workplace levy across the region.
The plans in the Budget deal agreed between the SNP and the Greens, propose introducing a tax to park at work that would either be taken on by employers or passed onto employees.
And last week, Edinburgh backed plans to introduce a £2 tourist tax for visitors staying in the capital, though these plans would have to be passed by Parliament.
Mr Carson has welcomed the council leader confirming she will be setting out her position when the council set their Budget later this month, with Ms Murray describing the proposals as more urban centric.
Commenting Finlay Carson MSP said: “This is welcome that the council leader has confirmed the administration will not be backing the proposals for a workplace parking levy or a tourist tax.
“These proposals agreed by the SNP and the Greens are completely misguided and would punish businesses and residents across the region if they were ever rolled out.
“When it comes to setting their Budget, the council can send a strong message against these proposals, and I hope the councillors on Dumfries and Galloway will tell Derek Mackay that these taxes are unworkable in rural communities, which are reliant on tourism, as well as having using their cars.
“This Budget deal between the SNP and the Greens continues to unravel and it is pleasing that the council leader has listened to my concerns over these additional tax proposals which would harm the local economy.”