Economic Reality? Oooooh, We Don’t Like That!

Braintree Council employees park for free at two sites in Braintree – Causeway House in Lakes Road and the upper floors of George Yard car park.

The authority is consulting on plans to charge £1 a day or pro rata depending on length of stay.

Thus bringing them into line with non-public sector employees. Well, except a few privileged members of a perceived identity group, that is:

Disabled parking will remain free.

Of course! Gotta keep those special interest groups happy!

Graham Butland, council leader, said: “Business people and people working in the centre of Braintree are absolutely amazed they have to pay for parking for their work and people at the council do not.”

He said the potential changes, along with overtime limits, reduced mileage allowances and increased employee contributions for lease cars, would save jobs.

And how have the staff welcomed this?

Well, as you’d imagine, really:

The GMB and Unison staff unions and most of the staff who responded to a consultation were opposed parking charges.

Shocker, eh?

The objections were quite illuminating, though. With no-one quite daft enough to say that this was ‘unfair’, they had to come up with some very roundabout arguments for retaining it:

Phil Barlow, councillor, said: “People don’t just have an employment contract they have a psychological contract with their employer.“There are certain things I am sure Mr Butland has said they will be prepared to live with to make some savings to protect some jobs.

“But there is a line and it varies from person to person. Once you cross that you start to have an effect on morale.”

Yes, being told your perk of the job is being cut would be quite bad for morale, I’d imagine.

I guess all those in private industry not getting this perk in the first place can just suck it up, eh? Who cares about their morale?

Malcolm Fincken, councillor, said: “All the proposals mean our staff will have less to spend in local shops and businesses, which would lead to more closures and bankruptcies.“We would be contributing in our own small way to a continuing downward spiral.”

Well, that’s intriguing! Doesn’t that equally apply to all those non-public sector employees, though? Should everyone get free (i.e. taxpayer subsidised) parking, for the sake of the retail industry?

James Abbott, councillor, said: “We find the proposal to charge staff to park at their own office incomprehensible.”

I’ll simplify it for you: THERE’S NO MORE FREE LUNCH!

13 comments for “Economic Reality? Oooooh, We Don’t Like That!

  1. Brian, follower of Deornoth
    September 28, 2011 at 12:44 pm

    Free parking for council employees? That’s a taxable benefit, that is. Who’ll dob them in to the Revenue?

    • September 30, 2011 at 5:51 am

      Cozy little arrangement, isn’t it? I’m guessing the answer’s ‘No-one’…

  2. September 28, 2011 at 1:48 pm

    A while ago, I worked for a company where part of my role was transport planning, and I had to hold meetings with other companies and county council representatives around the issue of car use and so on. The CC rep was a deep green sandal-wearing harridan, and spoke about ‘forcing’ people out of their cars – language which at the time I thought was unnecessarily violent. The current hot topic was making employers charge for workplace parking – in the interests of the environment.

    At the same time, the CC were buying up some prime town-centre land and refitting it as a staff car park. Free for CC staff to use, and banned to the rest of us. Even at weekends. Empty and locked.

    Nasty, selfish hypocrites.

  3. September 28, 2011 at 4:13 pm

    Richard B, splendid anecdotal.

    As to the subject, parking charges are a bloody nightmare because of working out where the machine is, whether you pay at the machine or at the exit barrier, finding the right change and all that crap, but in principle, they are a very good way of raising money indeed.

    Frankly, even if the council gave all their bods a £200 a year pay rise and made them pay the £1 a day, we’d all end up slightly better off (ignoring tax). Doesn’t £1 a day seem a bit on the cheap side? I’d have thought £2 or £3 was more like normal

  4. September 28, 2011 at 7:30 pm

    I almost never go into town nowadays. Even if parking is cheap I simply refuse to faff about and pay in order to be a shop customer. Out of town places, shops with parking, the internet, and small towns with free parking get all my spending. About the only shop I occasionally make an exception for, maybe once a year, is Wilkinsons for decorating and suchlike stuff.

    • Mudplugger
      September 28, 2011 at 9:37 pm

      I’m with you woodsy42.

      What towns seem to have missed is that folk with cars are folk with money, and if they want lots of that money spent in their towns, they need to welcome car-owners with easy access and parking ‘incentives’.

      But instead, they make it easy for the poor, the homeless and the dispossessed to get into town with subsidised bus-fares, bus-lanes and pedestrianised, car-excluding acreage, so the wealthy car-owners do exactly what woodsy42 and I do, we take our business to where we feel wanted.

      The first town centre which adopted a positive car-friendly strategy would be overwhelmed with the amount of high-value trade which follows – but they won’t do that, so they’ll never know what they’re missing. More fools them.

  5. nisakiman
    September 28, 2011 at 9:32 pm

    Of course, they could always solve this dilemma once and for all by removing all parking charges.

    Hey, who are these chaps in white coats? And why are they making me wear this jacket with long sleeves that tie at the back… 😯

  6. Uncle Badger
    September 28, 2011 at 9:39 pm

    The spectacle of councils whining about the death of the high st and the plight of small shops, while simultaneously making it increasingly expensive and fraught to patronise them, is one of the wonders of the age.

    Of course, Richard B’s comment, above, explains what is really going on. Councils have been subject to a vast amount of entrysim from the eco-loon Left. Councillors may still, just occasionally, be the local butchers and bakers, but they have no say in policy, which is dictated by the unelected ‘officers’ working hand in (iron) glove with their comrades in central government.

  7. David Parker
    September 29, 2011 at 6:14 pm

    The courtesy, intelligence and goodwill towards the public of council officials is in inverse proportion to their seniority. The lowest paid and most junior often behave like considerate ordinary human beings but, as they rise through the ranks of promotion, often well above their intellectual ability, so does their ego, arrogance and self deluding sense of infallibility grow in line with their inflated salaries and benefits.

    In the upper echelons of the civil service the same syndrome applies, only the Sir Humpreys of this country have learnt to cloak their convictions of self superiority in more diplomatic terms.

  8. Lord T
    September 29, 2011 at 6:26 pm

    David,

    I think you have put the cart before the horse there.

    They get promoted because their arrogance increases, their ego expands and they become more self deluding. It isn’t the job that changes them but the culture. Some may be decent human beings but they don’t get promoted.

  9. steng
    September 29, 2011 at 10:41 pm

    Years ago town councils discovered yellow paint, and single and double lines sprang up in urban centres. But the yellow lines spawned and grew, and the tide of banning grew ever outwards…

    Bus lanes and gates, complex one-way systems, a profusion of expensive signs (and trust me, they are very expensive), parking meters, cameras and more. An industry sprang up and made councils purr with power, though they strove to keep their workers — once ‘public servants’ but now ‘enforcement officers’ — happy and well-paid.

    Actually, putting drama aside, councils killed town centres. Oh, they brought in ‘park and ride’ and promoted the use of buses (round our way there are pictures of smiling people who chose the bus rather than the nasty car, though I wonder how these happy faces look when it is peeing it down with rain and the bus is missing or there are drunken louts throwing up on the bus)

    Well, town centres died a slow and unnecessary death. Sure, there was a need to ‘protect the environment’ and raise taxes and charges, aided by a desire to criminalise motorists (hey look, a wheel briefly crossed that solid white line on an empty road… we have the photograph and the registration! Ka-ching!) but the die was cast. Power to the Councils!

    Now suddenly a union drone is whining about there being ‘less money to spend in shops’ as a consequence. Welcome to our world, where increased charges and costs mean we, the non-council workers, too have less money to spend.

    Painful, isn’t it?

    • September 30, 2011 at 5:53 am

      “Now suddenly a union drone is whining about there being ‘less money to spend in shops’ as a consequence.”

      You can choose to ignore reality, comrades, but be advised, it isn’t going to choose to ignore you…

  10. Andrew Duffin
    September 30, 2011 at 1:56 pm

    Forgive me if I posted this before, but in my home town the council did all this:

    1. Reduced the speed limits on all the approach roads
    2. Made the High Street pedestrian-only
    3. Installed lots of lovely speed bumps
    4. Increased all the car park charges
    5. Closed one of the largest town-centre car parks completely
    6. Closed both the theatres
    7. Closed the ice rink
    8. Closed ALL the public toilets
    9. Installed lots of new sets of traffic lights all over the place

    …and then…

    They wonder why everyone goes to the out-of-town Tesco and the High Street is full of pound shops, charity shops, and empty units.

    Hmm, think think, it’s a hard one, isn’t it?

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