A Birmingham City Council cabinet member has privately admitted the introduction of workplace parking fees or congestion charging was ‘highly unlikely’ and would be political suicide for any administration.
The senior Labour group figure said the policy simply would not be introduced unless businesses in particular, as well as the travelling public, gave their backing and there is little, if any, support for it.
“I can’t see it happening. The businesses will never agree to it and the councillors will not support such a move.”
The spectre of workplace parking, a charge on free parking spaces provided by firms for staff, has been raised in discussion around Birmingham’s new £4 billion 20-year transport plan .
Last week council leader Sir Albert Bore said congestion charges and other transport taxes would only be considered if the business community could be persuaded of the case and once public transport improvements are in place.
The Greater Birmingham Chamber of Commerce and Industry has also expressed opposition to transport taxes describing them as a ‘blunt instrument which will stifle economic growth’.
Meanwhile, the Birmingham Connected plan was approved by the city’s Labour cabinet.
Opposition Conservative group leader Coun Robert Alden welcomed the 20-year vision for transport, but raised concerns over the plans to remove the city centre Queensway tunnels.
“I’m disappointed to see that in terms of the tunnel closure we would go from four lanes to one,” he said.
And he warned that cycle lane improvements on Hagley Road, if delivered before new Metro or Sprint bus lines, would be ‘putting the cart before the horse’ by reducing road capacity without the full range of viable alternatives. “Some dual carriageways will be reduced to a single lane before the public transport is in place,” he said.
Sir Albert Bore said the future of the tunnels would be looked at in detail and consulted on next year.