MPs’ bid to scrap hospital car park charges

A bid to slash car-parking fees at hospitals is being taken to debate in the House of Commons today. Conservative MP Robert Halfon secured the bid after he said: “These fees are a stealth tax”.

  • NHS Trusts and foundations are responsible for setting their own car parking policies
  • Trust and foundations are permitted to charge for car parking and raise revenue from it as long as certain rules are followed
  • The scheme must be profitable and provide a level of income that exceeds total costs.

In December 2017, the Press Association found that out patients, visitors and NHS staff payed up to £174,526,970 in car park fees in one year. The revenue from hospital parking charges increased by six percent, almost double the 12-month inflation rate in 2017, which was 2.7%.

Liverpool hospitals across Merseyside will be affected by the bid. MerseyDays spoke to Tommy Callagher, a presenter from Radio Broadgreen and fundraiser of the year for the British Heart Foundation.

He said: “Absolutely, I am backing the slash for fees. I volunteer at the hospital as a presenter for the radio show, I’m only in three days a week but it can get very expensive.

“The only way I can afford to park and volunteer is in the car park at Sainsbury’s, who sponsor my radio show.”

Mr Callagher told us that at the Aintree University Hospital it cost £3 per hour to park. Figures show that in 2016 the Aintree University Hospital was ranked the eighth most expensive to park in the UK, taking in £2,659,000.

The questions circling the price slash involve speculation as to from what sources the money will come to replace the revenue from the fees. Amongst the options are more money from taxes and National Insurance.

It’s a none binding vote and any new national policy to formally abolish the charges would need to be put into legislation and extra cash must be found somewhere else.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has today also repeated Labours pledges which was made in last years general election, the party would scrap the charges. He says that the money would come from an increase in insurance taxes on private healthcare.

Although it is not imminent that today’s government will follow through with the bid, it is clearly gathering support from all political parties.

 

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