The council is proposing to introduce parking charges that target disabled people living in or visiting Newcastle, disabled employees and the lowest paid staff while freezing charges for the highest earner.
UNISON are opposing the proposals and our Disabled Members are leading campaign to have them reversed. We have written directly to all Councillors asking them to reject these proposals and have received support from members on both sides of the Council Chamber and we've launched an online petition to gather support.
We are asking all members, whether disabled or not, whether a driver or not, to stand together to prevent this attack on some of our most disadvantaged members and societies most excluded and vulnerable people.
Say No to Unfair Parking Charges in Newcastle at https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/say-no-to-unfair-parking-charges-in-newcastle or for more information contact Branch Disabled Members Officer, Angela Hamilton.
13 March 2015
Although the Council voted to introduce unfair parking charges in Newcastle last week we are still campaigning to have the decision reversed. There are a number of avenues we can still try and this petition is an important one. The next meeting of the Council, on 26 March, will be the last one before the election so it will be the perfect time to ask them to reverse this decision. If you live in Newcastle speak to your local Councillor and let them know that you are opposed to these proposals.
But people don't have to live in Newcastle, don't have to work for Newcastle City Council and don't have to be disabled to understand the impact of these proposals will on the city. The more signatures we have on this petition the more chance there is the Council will listen. If you haven't already done so please ask everyone you know to click on the link below and add their name.
And if anyone living at your address thinks they don't need to sign because you have signed for the address let them know that it's the number of signatures that's important and ask them to please add their name.
Outlines, 24 February 2015
The Branch Secretary emailed all those members affected by the proposals and a meeting was held. A letter was sent to all elected members from the Branch’s Disabled Members Officer and the branch has presented our views to the Leader of the Council, Deputy Leader and the Cabinet members, and the Chief Executive who reiterated that the proposals were subject to consultation, and they were prepared to consider alternative points of view.
Subsequently a meeting took place with Andrew Lewis Assistant Chief Executive who confirmed that the Council was proposing a couple of amendments to their original proposal. UNISON is awaiting formal confirmation of those changes before arranging a further meeting for staff affected by the proposals.
They need your support to persuade the City Council -
Why is this important?
Disabled Blue Badge holders rely on their cars to visit the doctor, go shopping or take part in leisure activities. They can't use public transport. Charging them to park is punishing them for being disabled. Blue Badge holders may choose to go elsewhere, impacting on the city's economy or park on double yellow lines causing congestion. How is this Creating Decent Neighbourhoods? Charging disabled residents and visitors to the city to park is detrimental to both the disabled person and Newcastle.
Disabled staff with blue badges have to drive to work. It is not a choice. They can't use public transport. They can't walk to work. A free parking space for disabled employees with blue badges is not a luxury it is a reasonable adjustment.
It is unlawful to ask a disabled person to pay for a reasonable adjustment. Disabled employees should not be made to pay for a reasonable adjustment. Charging disabled employees will raise £4,500 a year. This will make no difference to the Council but some disabled employees will no longer be able to afford to work. How will this make Newcastle 'A Working City'? This action targets those hardest hit by welfare reform and government cuts and discriminates against the most isolated and excluded in society.
Parking charges for the lowest paid staff will go up by 580% but those on the highest salaries will have no increase. People in low paid jobs are more likely to be from BME communities, carers, disabled or women. How does this tackle inequalities. Council staff earning less than £15,000 will be subsidizing parking for those earning over £100.000.
How are these changes fair? How are they justifiable? Does this make Newcastle City Council fit for purpose?
Newcastle is often voted the friendliest city in the UK. The Geordie welcome is world famous. Do the people of Newcastle really want their city to be known as a place that doesn't welcome disabled people? Does Newcastle City Council really want to be seen as widening the pay gap between their highest and lowest paid employees? Or does Newcastle want to be seen as a vibrant, forward thinking, socially just city that supports the most vulnerable, disadvantaged and excluded in society?
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