>Land Securities, the company which owns The Centre shopping mall in Livingston, is, as I’ve written about over the last couple of days, about to introduce car parking charges for the first time. I know it’s very unusual to find anywhere free parking is the norm these days, but I’ve lived here 11 years and never had to pay to park my car in a town where, sadly, driving is the norm as public transport is so poor.
Now, I’m absolutely not complaining about having to pay to park myself. Most shoppers don’t park every day and the cost to do so as a proportion of your shop isn’t that bad. My concern is for Centre’s 2500 staff, 70% of whom take their car to work.
Shop workers are not the highest paid workers in our society. Many of them will be on the minimum wage. Yet Land Securities think it’s ok to charge them £40 per month to park. In this climate, when people are really struggling with the rising cost of living, it is simply unacceptable to force such a steep rise in outgoings on low paid staff. Land Securities made a profit of over £1 billion last year. They don’t need to profiteer in this way.
There are no real alternatives to parking in the Centre’s car park because of the layout of this new town. Buses even to other towns in West Lothian are not as regular as they need to be and the train stations are miles away from The Centre.
If you agree with me that it’s unfair to ask staff to pay such a huge proportion of their salary – equivalent to almost a day’s wages a month on the minimum wage, or 2 weeks’ pay over a year – then there are 3 quick things you can do:
It will literally take you less than 5 minutes to do all 3 things and if there’s a big enough show of public support, especially from people in the area who use the Centre, then it might be enough to make Land Securities think again.