Parking costs to skyrocket

You could be paying a whole lot more to park your car soon under new proposals drawn up to help cut obesity rates in the UK.

Health bosses have called for an increase in parking costs in an attempt to force motorists out of their cars, dropping the “bad habit” journeys of less than a mile.

Drivers are being encouraged to get on their bikes or walk the distance to school, work or the shops, helping improve fitness levels among the British public, reducing disease and the burden on the NHS in later life.

Parking fees have been rising steadily in the UK since 2008. Over that period data shows cost in Doncaster have more than doubled to £1.80 per hour, with average rates in Manchester rising 40% to £2.70 an hour over the same five years.

This year the London borough of Westminster increased parking costs by 40p to a staggering £4.80 per hour. It’s thought that under these new guidelines charges for leaving your vehicle could increase nationwide further still.

Chief Executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, Matthew Sinclair did not welcome the news:

“Things are tough enough for taxpayers already without meddling health bureaucrats trying to make parking more expensive.

“For most people using the car is a necessity, not a luxury. Parking charges damage the high street, place an unnecessary burden on struggling businesses and make life even harder for households just trying to make ends meet.”

Obesity expert at Oxford University, Harry Rutter – involved in drawing up the latest plans – countered Sinclair’s remarks, however, outlining action is needed to increase fitness levels across the nation.

“Only a minority of people in England get enough physical activity to improve their health. This creates a huge and often difficult burden of illness and on people’s quality of life.

“It can be difficult to break old habits and change behaviour. But walking and cycling to work, the schools, the shops or elsewhere can make a huge difference.”