Hospital Car Parking Charges

Oral Answers to Questions — Wales – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 5th December 2018.

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Photo of Robert Halfon Robert Halfon Chair, Education Committee 12:00 am, 5th December 2018

Whether he has had discussions with the Welsh Government on its abolition of hospital car parking charges.

Photo of Nigel Adams Nigel Adams Assistant Whip, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Wales

I have not discussed this matter with the Welsh Government. Decisions on charges are entirely for the Welsh Government to make, as this is a devolved responsibility.

Photo of Robert Halfon Robert Halfon Chair, Education Committee

The brain injury charity Headway has supported families who have incurred hospital car parking charges of as much as £248 in just seven days. Given that all hospitals in Wales have now abolished hospital car parking charges, will my hon. Friend make representations to the Health Secretary on abolishing them in England too?

Photo of Nigel Adams Nigel Adams Assistant Whip, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Wales

It is clear—everybody in the House will know—that there is no stronger champion of such causes than my right hon. Friend. We allow individual hospitals to take their own decisions in England, assisted by clear guidance. There are potential additional costs of a blanket removal of charging, which could be significant, but we keep our ears open.

Photo of Susan Elan Jones Susan Elan Jones Labour, Clwyd South

When the Welsh Government abolished car parking charges, certain people thought that it was a waste of money. We now know that it has been a great success. Is it not time that the UK Government stopped denigrating the Welsh Government, talked to them a bit more and shared good ideas?

Photo of Nigel Adams Nigel Adams Assistant Whip, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Wales

We are certainly not in the business of denigrating the Welsh Government, as the hon. Lady should know, but we cannot take a one-size-fits-all approach. I have read in the Welsh press in the past few weeks that some free hospital car parks are being used incorrectly by shoppers. We have to be mindful, but I assure her that we are not denigrating anyone.

Photo of Ian Lucas Ian Lucas Labour, Wrexham

I counsel Robert Halfon that this is not a silver bullet to hospital transport issues. In Wrexham Maelor Hospital, car parking is a major issue. The focus should be on providing public transport solutions in public services, and in hospitals in particular.

Photo of Nigel Adams Nigel Adams Assistant Whip, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Wales

The hon. Gentleman is absolutely right that it is not a silver bullet. Without the correct levels of public transport, the wider solution cannot be delivered. I totally agree with him.