Drivers are being “taxed to death” one councillor said as a raft of proposed parking charge rises in Brighton and Hove were rejected by a council committee.
Conservative councillor Lee Wares said that the proposal – to put up the price of parking permits – was a “charge sheet for robbery”.
He called it “socialism at its greatest” and accused the Labour administration of picking on communities who could not easily get out of paying the charges and “taxing them to death”.
He said: “If we are going to be charging people a 15 per cent increase, we are going to start hurting the lower-income families first.
“Then the lower-income families will have to get rid of their cars. I know that’s what people want them to do. But what we will end up with is streets where people who can’t afford it won’t have their car. Those who can will carry on paying the extra money.
“Where we end up charging businesses an extra £100 for traders permits, surely we should be doing what we can to help our traders keep this economy going.”
Councillor Wares said that some people did not have an alternative other than to use their car for work, depending on where they lived and the size of their family.
He spoke out at the council’s Environment, Transport and Sustainability Committee meeting at Hove Town Hall last night (Tuesday 21 January).
The proposals include putting up the price of annual resident parking permits from £130 to £150 but keeping the quarterly price at £45.
The council proposed putting up the price of a permit in “light touch” parking zones from £100 to £110 but keeping the six-monthly price at £60.
The administration also proposed putting up traders’ permits from £700 to £800 a year and from £200 to £250 a quarter while business permits would go up from £350 to £400 a year or £100 to £115 a quarter.
Councillor Wares also criticised a plan to double the cost of doctors’ permits from £100 to £200 a year.
He said: “Really? Doctors’ permits – a 100 per cent increase. What we offer in response is: ‘We let them park anywhere.’
“We should be letting our doctors park anywhere, regardless. I am sure there are some in this room if we were allowed to would probably want to charge permit parking for the police cars, ambulance and fire engines at this rate.”
Green councillor Pete West said that the proposed increase in residents’ parking permits was not enough.
However, fellow Green councillor Jamie Lloyd supported Councillor Wares on the £100 increase in trader permits.
He said: “We try to reduce the unnecessary car journeys or eliminate them all together.
“The man or women in a van with a job to do is not an unnecessary car journey and we should be supporting these people. They are part of our economy.”
Labour councillor Clare Moonan said that in general the Green group felt the price increases were too low and the Conservatives were saying they were too high and the administration was in the middle.
She said that traders and business permits allowed workers to park for £2 or £1 a day for as long as they liked.
Councillor Moonan said: “We feel this is a proportional and appropriate and balanced way of addressing parking charges.
“They represent really good value for money for the residents of Brighton and Hove as we have lower charges than many of our neighbouring authorities and many seafront authorities.”
Parking permit charges in many areas have not been increased for three years.
Any surplus goes towards funding concessionary bus fares, subsidising bus routes and other transport-related projects.
Green and Conservative councillors voted against the increases which means that the decision will have to be decided by the council’s Policy and Resources Committee next month.