Bristol news: business chiefs celebrate council climbdown

 

Guy Kingston

Bristol FSB Chairman Guy Kingston

Business chiefs from across Bristol will stage a victory parade to celebrate the city council’s decision to abandon its workplace parking tax.

The council had been trying to come up with a workable formula where every firm in Bristol paid a £1 per day levy for each parking space they provide to their workforce – but abandoned the scheme at the eleventh hour shortly before the march was due to go ahead.

Bristol Federation of Small Business chairman Guy Kingston applauded the u-turn.

He said:“Widespread resistance from the business community has clearly convinced the city council to think again.

“This could have cost some bigger firms thousands of pounds per year and would have placed an equally intolerable burden on many smaller businesses.

“This proposal was an unworkable as it was unpopular and was entirely out of kilter with the message that Bristol is open for business.”

Bristol City Council had been relying on the parking levy to cover a £27 million shortfall in funding for the proposed bendy bus scheme but ran into difficulties over the administration of the levy – as well as widespread resistance from the business community.

The FSB stand was backed by the Tax Payers’ Alliance and the Association of British Drivers.

All three organisations were planning an action day on Saturday to protest about the council’s plans to introduce the Workplace Parking Levy – which Guy Kingston described as‘anti-business’.

He said: “We’re still going ahead with the action day, which will now be more of a victory parade.  I am delighted the council has finally seen sense.

“The FSB has put a great deal of effort into fighting this measure and we have been the only business organisation locally prepared to stick our necks out and stand up for business.

“We want as many people to show up as possible for the parade to demonstrate to the council that although we have forced them to back down on this issue, if it comes up with any other new tax or anti-business scheme, we are ready and willing to oppose it.”

Marchers will be meeting outside the Corn Exchange on Corn Street at 11am  and will then parade to the council house.

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