March 12 2014 Latest news:
Adam Gretton, Health correspondent
Tuesday, December 31, 2013
Some front-line staff at Norfolk’s biggest hospital face parking hikes of more than 60pc under a new scheme that comes into force from tomorrow.
Bosses at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital announced earlier this year that they were planning to raise parking fees after four years of freezes, which resulted in some staff staging a protest.
After months of negotiations between management and union officials, the new charges will be introduced in two stages from January 1 and April 1. However, plans to start charging staff at the N&N to use a park and ride bus service have been ditched and will be kept free.
Officials at the N&N said the new fees would bring charges in line with those paid by staff at the James Paget University Hospital in Gorleston. However, they were bringing in a salary sacrifice scheme where the fees could be dramatically slashed.
Under the scheme, staff who are on a salary of £17,425 or below will see their fees rise from £7.47 a month to £12 by April 1. However, they will pay £7.82 a month if they sign up to the hospital’s “park and save” initiative.
Stephen Taylor, director of human resources at the N&N, said: “During 2013 a lengthy consultation, which included a staff survey, relating to increased car parking charges was conducted following an annual review of the payments made by staff to park on-site. Following consultation a decision was made to increase staff car parking charges to the same level as those at the James Paget University Hospital with the addition of a higher charge for higher paid employees.”
“We are also introducing an HMRC approved salary sacrifice scheme called Park and Save, as a new way to pay for car parking charges whereby staff are able to reduce the monthly cost of parking as the parking charges will be deducted from pay before national insurance and income tax is applied.”
Staff earning between £17,425 and £46,000 will see their fees rise from £14.68 a month to £24, which will be reduced to £16.90 under the salary sacrifice. High earners on more than £46,000 a year salary will pay £30 a month from April 1, but will pay £15.56 a month under park and save.
More than 6,000 people work at the N&N and the trust provides parking for around 2,000 members of staff. The changes do not affect visitor parking.
The NHS trust received £2.1m from its car parks in 2012/13, compared with £1.8m in 2011/12, according to figures from a Freedom of Information request this year.