Monday, May 30, 2011

€200 levy on car parking spaces 'won't go ahead' -

PLANS to charge employees €200 for parking their car at their workplace have been shelved.

The Irish Independent has learned that the controversial parking levy -- which was set to be introduced on all free parking spaces supplied to employees -- has been put on hold indefinitely.

This is despite the Government paying €9.6m last year to rent car parking spaces for civil servants around the country.

It had been estimated that the €200 levy would raise around €10m per annum to help boost the national coffers.

New figures show that an average of €1,744 was paid last year for each of the 5,502 spaces that were rented across the country for civil servants. The greatest number were rented in Dublin, at 3,360.

Although the new levy on an estimated 50,000 parking spaces was announced by then Finance Minister Brian Lenihan in the October 2008 budget, no commencement order has been signed.

"The Government has a lot more important things on its mind," a government source said last night, adding that it was "no longer on the agenda".

"It's definitely been put on the back burner now. In fact, I can't see it coming in at all.

"The priorities of the Government have completely changed and the focus now is on jobs initiatives."


The introduction of the levy has been postponed a number of times and, early last year, the previous government said it would be introduced on a pilot basis during the summer of 2010.

However, despite a considerable amount of pre-planning going into the scheme, it remained dogged by logistical problems.

Queries arose about whether they should charge workers who were forced to drive because they were poorly served by public transport, or those who shared a parking space.

Former TDs also questioned why they should have to pay for parking at Leinster House -- a privilege available to all TDs when they leave the Dail.

It had been confirmed that the scheme would cover both public and private sector workers who were provided with a parking space.

It was due to be introduced at all public sector offices, including the Dail, Aras an Uachtarain, and the garda headquarters in the Phoenix Park, Dublin.

Employers had been told that if they failed to deduct the levy from workers' net salaries, they would be fined €3,000.

However, as the charge will not now be introduced, the Government will continue to pick up the tab for renting parking spaces for civil servants.

The €9.6m bill for 2010 is down on the €10.5m spent in 2009. The number of spaces rented in Dublin also fell from 3,684 to 3,360.

However, the number of spaces rented outside the capital rose marginally, from 2,082 to 2,142.

The average spend per space in 2009 was €1,821 -- dropping by €77 last year.

- Edel Kennedy

Irish Independent

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