Parking chiefs under fire for �375k bill for staff permits

EAST End parking chiefs have come under fire for handing out more than 700 staff parking permits at a cost of �375,000 to the taxpayer.

Each department at Tower Hamlets Council siphons off cash from their budget to pay for permits, which cost an average of �525 each.

Alongside the 715 handed out borough-wide permits, 30 councillors also receive them.

Critics said this is setting a bad example to residents who are facing increasingly tough parking restrictions and are also questioning whether all permits are necessary.

Neighbouring Newham Council said it does not give out staff permits at all.

A Bethnal Green driver, who has been pressing the council to reconsider its parking rules, said: “The public are made to pay in this bad economic time while council officers enjoy these perks.

“Those making the rules have no parking problems themselves so they don’t understand what people are facing.

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“Who are these 700 people being given permits and how do we know they’re not using them for personal use?”

Emma Boon from the Taxpayers’ Alliance said: “Many taxpayers who work in London have to take public transport as they don’t get free parking permit perks.

“Some staff, like social workers, may justify needing their cars but if neighbouring Newham doesn’t issue any free parking permits to staff, it seems that Tower Hamlets could easily follow suit.”

Tower Hamlets Council said parking permits are only issued to staff who need to regularly travel across the whole borough.

This includes social workers, service quality inspectors and highway engineers.

It said each role is scrutinised to make sure a car is the only option, with others expected to walk or use public transport.

A spokesman added: “Fees apply for all parking permits and are charged back to each department. This means that every service carefully considers all options before requesting a permit.”

The council must slice �70 million off its budget in the next three years.

It said each department is considering whether to reduce parking costs.

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