17 March 2011

Parking charges changes changed = a loss of £118,000

News has reached Mr Mustard through the blogosphere that the exorbitant parking charge increases which would have seen residents of the CPZ paying huge extra amounts of Council Tax under the guise of Windscreen Tax Residents' Permits & Visitor Vouchers have been wrongly advertised. 

All the Council had to do was to advertise in the local press, in all the affected off-street car parks and on a few lampposts ( if they can be bothered - amazingly, posting the Notice in the affected streets is optional ) that from a certain date, at least 21 days in the future, the old charges of £X would be replaced by new ones of £4X. Now we know that the Council don't know the value of money ( Brian Coleman wants us all to be like the Queen and not bother ourselves carrying cash especially in cashless Barnet ) and so its not a surprise that Councillors don't know the value of a Resident's Permit - well why would they when they get them free ( photographs welcomed of Councillors with shopping bags  mis-using the Permit as its strictly for use on Council Business only - of course it is ) but I did think that employees of the Council might know that the first permit costs £40 not £42 ( do any Barnet Council senior employees actually live in the Borough ? - I have my doubts ) and they would then have got the Notices correct.

So the upshot of this is that the second & hopefully correct version of the Notices will be issued next Thursday 24 March 2011. So this notice is exactly one month later than the previous one dated 24 February 2011. Therefore the Council will lose 1/12th of the extra income on which they were counting. 

Here are the figures for the anticipated extra charges in the next Council Tax year:-

Residents' permits £830,000
Visitor vouchers £590,000

so the delay will cost 1/12th of the above i.e. about £118,000

That's without the legal costs if external advice was needed from an expert, the cost of the advert ( small but its all money down the drain that we have to make good ) reprinting & laminating the Notices and going round the Borough putting them all up again.

Occasionally in my business life I make errors. When I do so I apologise to the client and make suitable amends. Do you suppose the legal department of Barnet Council will be publishing an apology ? no, nor do I.

And the judicial review is yet to come which questions the validity of all the other changes to parking charges which together amount to £2,600,000 in a year. Only 5% of Barnet's residents will pay towards this as they live in a CPZ. If this amount were to be put on Council Tax where it properly belongs it would mean an increase of about £18 for each of the roughly 140,000 households which I understand that there are in Barnet.

Q. Do you feel like a cash cow ?
A. Moo

Yours frugally

Mr Mustard

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