Sir Mike Penning MP has supported calls for a consultation to identify ways to abolish car parking charges at NHS hospitals in Herts and beyond for patients, staff and visitors.
Speaking in a debate in Parliament, Sir Mike said: “This is a regressive tax. It is a tax on everybody, because everybody needs the NHS – that is why it is there. It is even more regressive for NHS staff, who are taxed even more just to go to work their difficult shift patterns. That is completely unacceptable.”
Speaking afterwards, he added: “I absolutely believe car parking should be free at a hospital – for everybody. We need a consultation on this as every NHS Trust has a different system and we need to identify what would actually need to be done to make this possible.
“It is clear that some cases would be easier to change to free car parking than others.
“Where there is a long-term Private Finance Initiative (PFI) commitment in place then that will need to be negotiated, but in many cases, it will be easier. We don’t need to wait until we can change the whole country over in one go.
“I urge the government to seriously consider this. I absolutely believe it can be done if the will is there and it is something that would benefit nearly all of us at some time or other.”