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Bonkers Blog June 2015

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16 June - Another stealth tax sneaked in

When a Conservative council was elected in Bexley in 2010 they did what all new councils do after elections. They raised prices and reduced services.

One of the biggest price hikes following the 2010 election was the very near tripling of the cost of Residents’ Parking permits. £35 to £100 in most cases, £120 in some areas.

This was masterminded by councillor Peter Craske (Cabinet Member for Public Realm at the time) who justified it in the only way he knew. He lied by making up fictitious numbers. He attributed nearly all the enforcement costs and staff overheads for the whole borough to residential parking bays despite their proportion of total bays being small and they are for the most part enforced for only two hours out of 24, five days a week. Double yellows are 24/7.

For good measure he grossly inflated the cost of painting white lines and the frequency of their renewal. His dishonesty led him to claim that the cost of issuing Residents’ Parking Permits was only a few pence under £250 each.

You don’t really have to do the arithmetic to know instinctively that that must be very wrong, and of course it was. Why else would the cost have remained at £100 a year for the past four years? You can be sure it would have gone up again if Craske hadn’t been lying.

Something I didn’t know is that if, for example, a family owned two cars but had only a single off street parking space, or maybe if someone worked nights whilst their partner was out all day, it was possible to register two cars to the same permit. That way you don’t have to ensure that the right car is off road etc.

Convenient all round and costs nothing.

But that facility has been withdrawn and the reason given is that it represents “enhanced security”. As Bexley Bullshit goes that must be the best for quite a long time.
Parking price doubled

Click image for complete letter.

The letter doesn’t actually say that separate permit applications will mean that the cost of parking doubles (or more) but those who have checked say it does.

The Bin Tax may be another 3% on the average council tax but this new unpublicized imposition will be more like 10%.

There has been no consultation of course, and what would be the point when Bexley council has never ever taken any notice of a consultation?

The next thing likely to be on the list of new stealth taxes is charging for disabled bays. Not just Disabled Residents’ Bays, that is already on Bexley’s To Do List, but also to clamp down on Blue Badge holders across the borough.

At the moment Blue Badge Holders can use Residents’ Parking Bays anywhere across the borough without charge but in Bromley that will earn you a Penalty Notice. Bexley is gradually merging its parking operation with Bromley’s and by the end of next year it will be complete. You can be pretty sure which way the Blue Badge rules will go.

Thanks to a document that Bexley council has been forced to release to its auditors, I can now say without fear of contradiction that Bexley’s Parking department is bent from top to bottom. With luck the full story will be told well before the year is out.


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