Ian Swithenbank, Chairperson
Grant Davey, Leader
Val Tyler, Deputy
Robert Arckless, Secretary
Northumberland NE61 2EF
Telephone (01670) 533000
Fax (01670) 533072
Labour call for county wide free car parking
‘Economy needs a jump start and the council can help’ – Swithenbank
The Labour party are proposing to end car parking charges as the county economy struggles through the current recession after it emerged that the ruling Liberal Democrat group spent over £1.53m on consultants and interim managers.
Northumberland Labour Group are proposing to devise local ‘car parking plans’ with Town and Parish council’s across the county to come up with the short term aim of reducing and then eliminating car parking charges.
Labour group Chair Ian Swithenbank said
‘It’s our view that Northumberland can afford free parking and it’s a question of priorities. It will bring in a fair amount of shoppers and tourists and it will complement the ‘Buy Northumberland campaign’ launched with the Prime Minister last week at the House of Commons. It’s the Labour group view that by involving the Town and Parish council’s in devising local parking plans, we can enable localities to decide how they want to manage their own traffic. I’m afraid that in the current economic environment, we see car parking charges as a tax on motorists to park their vehicles on land they already own’.
The Labour group are confident that the revenue from car parking charges can be offset against drastically reduced costs of external consultants as the council ‘all party committee’ overseeing the Liberal proposals to outsource services prepares to encourage ‘in house expressions of interest’ to run various council services.
The move by Labour comes after Liberals and Tories welcomed a ‘buy Northumberland’ campaign launched by Tory MP Guy Opperman in Westminster attended by Prime Minister David Cameron.
Labour Group leader Grant Davey said
‘We welcome the recent launch of the ‘Buy Northumberland’ campaign but we think instead of standing on the sidelines the Liberal County Council should put their money where their mouth is. Our town centres are crying out for a helping hand and Labour is clear – the council must show where its priorities are – consultants or small businesses?’