‘Downright disgrace’: MPs enjoy free parking while NHS staff forced to pay for tickets

NHS parking charges: Piers Morgan slams increase in 2020

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All Members of Parliament are entitled to a permit allowing them to park at no cost in a multi-storey underground car park near Parliament. At the same time, NHS staff have to pay for parking, a cost that was brought back earlier this year after the pandemic.

A Freedom of Information request revealed the Houses of Parliament have the luxury of 400 free parking spaces, available 24 hours a day.

MPs and staff can also claim parking in the constituencies they represent on expenses.

A spokesperson for the Commons said: “There are approximately 400 parking spaces managed by the House of Commons on the parliamentary estate.

“Members may park in these spaces provided they have a valid parking permit.”

Despite this, nurses and doctors working at hospitals have to pay for parking again.

Free NHS parking was allowed during the pandemic, but charges were applied again from March 31.

Official figures show in the year before the charges were suspended, health workers shelled out £90.1million to park.

Rachel Harrison, national officer at the GMB union, said it was not fair that NHS staff, who worked throughout the pandemic, have to pay for parking.

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She added: “Our members will be appalled by the hypocrisy of ministers who enjoy free parking at their own place of work.

“Nurses, cleaners, porters and more have run themselves into the ground keeping people alive during this pandemic.

“This is not levelling up, this is a downright disgrace.”

Health Secretary Sajid Javid announced that free parking for NHS staff was coming to an end at the end of March.

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He said the pandemic had moved on to a “new stage” after the Government invested more than £130million to ensure that free hospital car parking was available to NHS staff for the duration of the pandemic.

Mr Javid thanked NHS staff for their work throughout the pandemic, saying they worked “tirelessly”.

The Conservative Party’s 2019 manifesto promised to make parking free for those in greatest need including “disabled people, frequent outpatient attenders and staff working night shifts”.

The Department of Health and Social Care said that the broader policy was temporary and had been introduced “for the duration of the pandemic”.

A Government spokesperson said free hospital parking was a “time-limited measure”.

Free parking for NHS staff working overnight is still available, given that public transport is not always available.

NHS staff car parking charges have been dubbed a “tax on caring” by the supporters of the petition.

Matt Bodell, a frontline NHS nurse added: “Car Parking charges are nothing more than a tax on caring.

“With over 40,000 unfilled nursing vacancies in England alone, year on year real-terms pay cuts combined with stealth taxes such as this only drive hard-working nurses and doctors out of the profession.”

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