Consultation is always important. The two issues are interlinked. Many hospitals are situated in and around town centres, and that can cause all sorts of pressures. The measures in the Bill would have a beneficial effect if the local authorities used them positively. If authorities decide to lower charges, the number of people using local authority car parks may increase, which would then take pressure off other car parks.
Many residents live around town centres. If parking charges are not proportionate, people quite often park in the streets around a town centre and avoid using the car parks because it is quite easy to walk into the centre of town. That exacerbates problems for many people living in such areas. By definition, a town centre is a historic place so properties around it usually date from quite a while back—the end of the 19th century or the beginning of the 20th century—when nobody had a car. Those streets were not built for cars, so there is a lot of competition for parking among the residents alone. The last thing they want are councils that hike up parking charges without consultation, which would put more pressure on their streets and the parking arrangements in them. It is an important part of the Bill that we put in place a situation whereby councils consult.