Parking Places (Variation of Charges) Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 10:57 am on 3rd February 2017.

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Photo of Andrew Slaughter Andrew Slaughter Shadow Minister (Housing) 10:57 am, 3rd February 2017

I am grateful to the Minister. I was interested to see that the Bill deals with both on-street and off-street parking.

The hon. Member for Torbay said that he cannot envisage circumstances in which he would get letters from people asking for parking charges to go up. That may well be true as regards council-owned car parks and off-street parking, but it is often the case with on-street parking that is shared between residents and non-residents who wish to park there and pay and display, when charging is for the purposes of regulating access between residents and users of the visitors’ scheme, and residents ask for parking enforcement and for certain levels of charging. I do not think that that goes to the heart of this Bill. I understand that its intention is to give flexibility to local authorities and to encourage them more towards lowering than raising charges. I do not think any of us are going to disagree with that. I make these points merely because these matters are often fraught for councils and for Members of Parliament. I hope that, on the whole, councils try to do a decent job in pleasing everybody. If they do not, they tend to get voted out.

Having made those rather pettifogging remarks, I will not prolong my comments. The promoter of the Bill said that he wants it to make life better for people around the country, and I am sure that it will do that. I am also aware that slightly further down the list of private Members’ Bills—until this Bill and the next Bill came out of Committee, it would have been the first to be discussed—is the Bill introduced by my hon. Friend Dan Jarvis on reducing child poverty. If I may humbly say so, from my own perspective as a Member with a great deal of child poverty in my constituency, I wish that we could get on to that Bill and give it a Second Reading, because that would make life even better for our constituents around the country.