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"Imperative" that social workers are exempt from car parking levy

Local authorities in Scotland will soon have powers to impose parking charges with no upper limit on workplaces. Only NHS properties, GP surgeries, hospices and blue badge holders will be exempt from the scheme.

SASW has previously called on the Scottish Government to include social workers workplaces in the exemption premises when the proposals were first announced in the 2019 Scottish Budget.

In an article published by the Times last week, SASW National Director, Alison Badvidge, reiterated our belief that there should be parity between NHS employees and social workers in terms of the exemption. Ms Bavidge explained:

“Social work is not an activity that happens in an office.  Social workers need to visit individuals in their homes and other places. They may also need to help the people they work get from a to b for care and support and to get to events or meetings.  Sometimes this needs to happen urgently. 

“It is impracticable to expect social workers to depend on public transport as an alternative option .  This would add pressures to their already heavy workloads and radically reduce the number of visits they could make each day. A levy risks creating barriers for social workers being able to deliver vital services, particularly when they need to travel outside town and city centres.

“Having immediate access to a car is essential for social workers to support people effectively and make best use of their time.  Unfortunately, it is also sometimes a tool that enables social workers to feel and to be safe in the often challenging work that they do. 

“Whilst policies to reduce environmental harm are absolutely needed, they need to be applied sensibly and proportionately. It is therefore imperative that social work workplaces are included in the exemption for the workplace parking levy.”