Labour’s Jonathan Ashworth has declared that he is “disgusted” by increases in hospital car parking charges and accused government ministers of going “from clapping the carers to now clamping the carers”.
It was revealed over the weekend that the cost of annual parking permits are set to go up by 200% for NHS workers at one of the UK’s biggest trusts, which will see new permits costing up to £1,440, possibly from December 1st.
Commenting on the Mail on Sunday report, the Shadow Health Secretary told ITV’s Good Morning Britain: “We’re in the middle of a second wave. Our brave NHS staff are on the frontline, working all hours.
“We’re heading into the winter, which is always the toughest time of the year as well for NHS staff. I just find it utterly insulting and unbelievable. I’m going to be raising it in the House of Commons.
“I know your viewers will be appalled as well. I think we should all demand that Matt Hancock sorts this out, fixes it and gets rid of these unfair charges.”
Highlighting that hospital car parking is free in Wales and Scotland, Ashworth added: “The principle of free parking is something we should be rolling out across the board in England because I just think it’s a tax on the sick, quite frankly.
“But given that’s not going to happen any time soon, I imagine, the very least ministers should be doing is giving our NHS staff free parking given that they’re going the extra mile again and again to care for us, our relatives, our sick.”
Labour pledged to introduce free hospital parking for NHS patients, staff and visitors in its 2019 election manifesto. The Tories have temporarily exempted some patients and staff from NHS car parking charges during Covid.
On parking charges, Health Secretary Matt Hancock this morning said English hospitals will not have parking charges “for the course of this pandemic”, adding that “once the pandemic is over, we will no doubt return to this question”.
He says ministers have gone from 'clapping the carers to clamping the carers.' pic.twitter.com/hGLYfXWe2s
— Good Morning Britain (@GMB) November 16, 2020