HELPING THE LOW PAID IN CORNWALL
22 September 2011
Cornwall Council is set to help some of the low paid with the cost of car parking.
The Council’s advisory panel on parking has suggested a special season ticket for town centre council car parks for people getting working tax credits: £300 a year for the ticket, payable in instalments. This will help those on low wages in jobs in or near town centres.
This is an excellent proposal; the panel and its chair, Andrew Wallis, have responded well to concerns about the low paid being priced out of parking and work; it’s an example of doing good in minute particulars. I hope the Cabinet goes along with this at its October meeting.
There remains the question of how to help the young low paid who do not get working tax credits. I hope that question is solved. And of course the Council has still to take up the question of a living wage for all its employees.
Car parking charges are problematic. Motorists do not like them and wish them to be as low as possible; but council car parks are a community asset and charges below the market rate are in effect a subsidy to users from council-tax payers, some of whom are also users. Cheap parking, smartly scheduled, helps shoppers and shop owners and workers too and helps to keep the town centre as a viable retail centre, though the last seems to me a disputable aim for a council. Is this help also a subsidy? I think subsidising the poor or disabled is justifiable but a wider subsidy or discount to motorists requires close argument rather than claim and description.
“Labour well the minute particulars … He who would do good to another must do it in minute particulars” William BLAKE (1757-1827) ‘The holiness of minute particulars’ in Jerusalem, lines 51 and 60.