Manx taxpayers are being harmed by a previously secret long-term COVID side effect: free public sector car parking.
Under questioning by House of Keys Speaker Juan Watterson, the Isle of Man Government has revealed that public sector car parking charges were suspended in April 2020 – and “there are currently no plans to reintroduce charging.”
Government figures reveal that public sector car parking charges raised £231,237.63 in the 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19 financial years combined – but none since April 2020 “as a result of the Pandemic lockdown”.
“Who knew that the Manx variant of COVID-19 caused free public sector car parking to spread contagiously across our bureaucracy? Many people across the Isle of Man will be surprised to learn of this previously-undiscovered side effect of COVID-19,” said Michael Josem of the Manx TaxPayers’ Alliance.
“This is a case of rules for thee, but not for me. The same people who tell the people of Mann that they should use active travel to commute have quietly become able to take advantage of free car parking for themselves,” said Josem.
Earlier this year, the Isle of Man Government claimed that it was “impossible” to accept Manx coins for member of the public to pay for airport parking. Despite this challenge, the Department of Infrastructure was able to implement an app-based system to charge members of the public for parking. According to the Government, they have no plans to introduce equivalent app-based charging systems for public sector car parks.