07 – ROB HALFON
Putting the brakes on hospital car parking charges
What a start to the new term here in Westminster! I kicked-off September by paying a visit to the Prime Minister’s front door.
Alongside FairFuelUK, a campaign group for motorists, and two charities, CLIC Sargent, which looks after children with cancer, and Headway, which supports those with head injuries, I delivered a petition to bring an end to hospital car parking charges in England.
We now have over 27,000 signatures. I launched the campaign back in 2014 and have since been working hard, campaigning the Government to abolish this draconian charge.
Why am I so passionate about scrapping hospital car parking fees? I believe that they are a stealth tax on the sick, on the vulnerable, on families and on our hard-working NHS employees.
CLIC Sargent’s‘Cancer Costs’ research shows that, on average, families visiting their children undergoing cancer treatment spend between £44 and £37 on hospital car parking. Headwayhas supported families forking out more than £1,500 in parking fees in just 15 weeks! Such extortionate costs add to their stress in an already very worrying time.
I am so proud to live in a country where our national health service is free. I have witnessed first-hand the remarkable work of the incredible employees at Princess Alexandra Hospital, both as a patient, and in my capacity as MP for Harlow.
Up and down the country, the NHS staff deserve every penny of their wages. Yet, we impose this stonking, additional tax for those that choose to drive to work, which is so often due to a simple lack of adequate public transport.
Many people’s response – the Government’s included – is, how much will scrapping the charges cost, and where will the money come from? But there is money available! Only recently, did Theresa May announce £20 billion additional funding to the NHS each year. Or how about dipping into the £1 billion that the Health Department have previously identified could be saved by better hospital procurement?
Despite NHS guidelines brought in in 2014 to ensure a fairer system for hospital car parking fees, it’s just not working. 47% of hospitals across the country, have actually increased their charges!
If you, too, would like to scrap hospital, I’d love to see your support. Please sign my online petition today at: https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/219650
Perhaps you know someone who has been affected by overwhelming hospital car parking charges – it’d be great to hear your stories. As ever, send me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Let’s see how far we can take this, and make a real difference to millions of lives.
And the Award goes to…
Heart4Harlow is an extraordinary organisation that does so much for our community. I am delighted that they link up with businesses in Harlow and are making sure that all those that work so hard for our community are rewarded in their annual Community and Business Awards.
These awards showcase the best of Harlow’s young people, the best businesses, and the best community organisations, as well as some remarkable individuals.
We have a Heart for Harlow. We’re proud of Harlow, and as Nishall Garala says, we should Big Up Harlow!
Congratulations to all of this year’s award winners!