Scrapping Free NHS Parking - A Sick Joke!
During the midst of the pandemic in 2020, parking fees for NHS staff were scrapped in order to ease financial pressure from those who risk their lives to protect us. Today, on the 30th March 2022, the Government announced that as of Friday 1st April, NHS worker's free parking scheme is to be scrapped. What does this mean for commuting figures, and how can we help?
Updated: Friday 28 July 2023
Scrapping Free Parking For NHS Workers...A Sick Joke
During the midst of the pandemic in 2020, parking fees for NHS staff were scrapped in order to ease financial pressure from those who risk their lives to protect us. Today, on the 30th March 2022, the Government announced that as of Friday 1st April, NHS worker's free parking scheme is to be scrapped. With the topic of healthcare pay already a controversial one, this is sure to add salt to the wounds. Rachel Harrison, national officer for the GMB union, said: "Charging the NHS staff who've risked their lives during the pandemic to park at work is a sick joke" - and we agree.
During the time of the original scrappage proposal in 2020, the virus was at it's most rife; jeopadising jobs & businesses, causing disruption and devestation to families, and numbers were rising rapidly. This surge in cases of a virus which, at the time, was alien with unknown potential, meant our NHS departments were short staffed, and over populated to say the least.
We're all familar with the ongoing controversy surrounding healthcare pay, and this new found pandemic would reignite that much needed conversation. The government was rightly under great pressure to remedy this 'rock & a hard place' situation, so on the 25th March 2020, the Department of Health and Social Care announced that "the government will cover the costs of providing free car parking to NHS staff working in hospitals during this unprecedented time". In a statement, the then Health Secretary said "Our NHS is facing an unprecedented challenge, and I will do everything I can to ensure our dedicated staff have whatever they need during this unprecedented time."
Fast forward, it's spring 2022 and (somehow) almost 2 years has passed since the Government's announcement. The pandemic, or virus should we say, seems to be taking a backseat certainly in terms of media, and it seems this diversion of limelight has promoted a facade that this support is no longer needed.
Sajid Javid has said that as of Friday 1st April, the benefit of free parking for NHS staff is coming to an end. The Health Secretary added: "Free parking in hospital car parks for NHS staff introduced during the pandemic will also come to an end on March 31."
Adding a 'saving grace', he put: "however, over 93% of NHS trusts that charge for car parking have implemented free parking for those in greatest need, including NHS staff working overnight". He added: "On behalf of the Government, I would like to record my thanks to everyone who has worked tirelessly to keep people safe over the last two years and whose efforts have enabled us to move to the next stage of the Covid-19 response."
With healthcare pay still on the tip of folk's tongue, and parking costing as much as £7 per day for some (that's over £1200 a year!), it's safe to say that this news is not welcomed by staff members and indeed the UK's general public. Fighting their corner, TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady said: "Our amazing NHS key workers put their lives on the line to get us through this pandemic. Scrapping free car parking in the middle of a cost-of-living crisis is a lousy way to repay that service." Adding "The Government should be giving health staff a proper pay rise - not adding to their bills. And it should be funding our NHS properly so that hospitals don't have to rely on car parks for income."
Fighting Their Corner
We heard the news this morning. As a topic close to all of our hearts, we as a company would love to help in any way we can.
With lengthy commutes, early starts, tight schedules and unsociable hours, we completely understand that commuting via car is a necessity to a lot of workers. On the flip-side, there are those who are now being forced to seek other modes of transport due to financial pressures... That's where we come in.
A Tiny, But Hopefully Helpful Gesture
We know it's not solving a problem by any means, and the ongoing struggles of healthcare workers can't be tackled by such a simple gesture, but we'd like to offer ALL NHS staff* a 10% discount on our Basis SP20 20" Folding Commuter Electric Bike, and Dallingridge Polar 20" Folding Commuter Electric Bike , in the hope that it'll benefit at least a small portion of our healthcare heros.
As we've preached previously, an E-Bike is economic, healthcare promoting mode of transport that could potentially cut fuel and running costs when most needed. We know full well that it's not feasable to replace a car with an E-Bike, but we're confident it could have a much needed impact on finances.
Park N' Ride?
Of course, a large chunk of commuters will face a commute that exceeds the capability of such an Electric Bike, but, the beauty of a folding Electric Bike is that it fit's nicely in the boot of most hatchbacks, or small car for that matter... We've chosen to offer these bikes in particular as they open up the option of parking on the outskirts for FREE, and finishing your commute on 2 wheels! With the Summer sun just around the corner, what better time.
Finance & Cycle Scheme**
Coming from the horse's mouth, we completely understand that the direct cost of any E-Bike is lumpy, and just not feasable for many in today's climate. If the bikes mentioned above don't tick your boxes, why not see how our finance or cycle scheme options could broaden your choices? We offer brilliant finance options with flexible repayment plans that have been designed to offer such brilliant machines to the masses.
What about Cycle To Work schemes? Providing your employer has opted in, employees can purchase a bicycle at their employers expense, and repay the amount over a certain period by deduction from their monthly salary. In some cases, employers will also pay in to this, meaning the employees monthly repayments will be reduced.
For more information on our Finance options, hit this link.
Intrigued by Cycle To Work Schemes? Check out our Cycle To Work Schemes page for more information.
Sources: Mirror News, BBC News.
* Proof of employment will be required by email to validate your discount
** Discount not available on cycle to work schemes or finance options
*** E-Bikes Direct reserve the right to cancel this offer at any time