Westminster parking charges to cost West End businesses £800m a year and threaten 5,000 jobs

By Luke Nicholls

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: West end, Economics

Westminster Council’s plan to charge drivers up to £4.80 an hour night-time parking is proving extremely controversial
Westminster Council’s plan to charge drivers up to £4.80 an hour night-time parking is proving extremely controversial
The proposed night-time parking charges for London’s West End will cost businesses in the area £800m a year and threaten over 5,000 jobs, a study has found.

The study from the Centre for Economics and Business Research forecasts the economic consequences of Westminster Council’s controversial plan to charge drivers up to £4.80 an hour for night-time parking instead of free on yellow lines during evenings and much of the weekends, as at present.

“We warned several weeks ago, in advance of our detailed work for this report, that there would be serious economic consequences of such a move,” said Oliver Hogan, CEBR’s Head of Microeconomics.

“These proposed charges have caused inevitable controversy because of fears that they would disrupt the bustling night life and attendant healthy trade of the UK’s capital city.

“But it was only once the economic modelling and calculations had been completed that we realised the true extent of the potential damage to the London economy.”

Key findings within the study are:

  • £800 million fall in customer demand in the West End per year for theatres, pubs, restaurants, casinos and hotels, leading to £714 million lost profits per year, much of which would have gone to Treasury as tax later
  • 5,100 jobs lost as businesses try to cut costs to recoup lost profits

Boris Johnson’s view

Simon Thomas, a leader of the West Ending Campaign against the parking charges and owner of Leicester Square’s Hippodrome Casino, added: “The Mayor of London was quite right to be wary of these proposals.

“Boris Johnson shares with us the worry that the West End will suffer intolerable damage if this goes ahead and these figures now bear out all our fears.

“It doesn’t take a genius to work out that if you make it £25 more expensive to have a night out in one place, prospective customers might just choose somewhere else to go.”

On Monday, BigHospitality reported the various views and opinions of critics of the scheme​. Last month, Richard Caring, chairman of Caprice Holdings, slammed the decision, claiming they are 'the dumbest thing I ever heard'​.

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