2 Aug 2020

Car Parking charges

The decision to suspend parking charges in Wirral is deeply worrying and deeply wrong.

Deeply worrying because Wirral faces a £19 million black hole in its finances this year due to COVID-19. We can ill afford to forgo a key source of revenue as government support is withdrawn.

And it is deeply wrong in so many ways. In wards such as Birkenhead and Tranmere a majority of households do not own a car. This means the poorest households are now subsidising those who can afford to drive. The poorest families also suffer most from poor air quality and poor health. Yet here is Wirral Council subsidising the most unhealthy, polluting form of transport.

Public car parking is provided at public expense. It is right that those who use it should pay for it. If we have to pay for public transport we should certainly have to pay for public car parking.

Our high streets are clearly struggling due to the pandemic but also for deeper structural reasons as shopping patterns change and more business is conducted online. Free parking will do little to address these concerns. Successful shopping and leisure centres of the future will be based around people not cars. People want safe, clean places to enjoy that are free from the hazards and pollution that traffic brings.

The decision to suspend car parking charges is financially reckless, socially unjust and makes a mockery of Wirral's self-declared Climate Emergency.

Pat Cleary

Green Party councillor for Birkenhead and Tranmere

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