The British city of Nottingham has become the first city in the UK to try to tackle congestion once and for all, by taxing businesses with owwnership of 11 or more car parking spaces to their name. The Workplace Parking Levy will see firms charged £288 plus VAT per space, every year. “It’s going to cost us initially £9000 a year moving up to £13000-£14000 over the next three years,” said Steve Butler, chairman of software company InspHire, which has 29 spaces for its own staff. “We’re really angry about it, this is a business tax, a tax on employment and if we could move our business tomorrow, say, to Derby, we would.” But some business leaders being affected think the strategy is a huge gamble – Nottingham Chamber of Commerce has opposed the plan flat-out for the past eight years and counting. “Some businesses are choosing to relocate outside the city boundary,” said chairman George Cowcher. “But we’re also seeing a repetitional issue arising with inward investors saying: ‘Oh, you’re the high tax city aren’t you?’ That’s not the image we want to give.” Whatever the impact of the new tax being introduced this year, other cities will be watching closely. Other cities like Bristol, Milton Keynes and Edinburgh are all considering how it could work for them.
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