The long-threatened workplace parking tax has finally become reality today. Nottingham City Council is the first in the country to apply powers created many years ago. It has forced all workplaces with parking spaces to register them on a database, with over 45,000 already accounted for.

Companies with more than 10 spaces will now be taxed £288 for each one, a substantial sum that will rise to £334 next year, £364 in 2014 and £381 in 2015.

Councillor Jane Urquhart calls this tax the ‘Workplace Parking Levy’ and says it provides a ‘vital funding stream’ which is supposedly underpinning ‘two more tram lines’ and a ‘redevelopment of a railway station’.

The plans to tax parking spaces dates right back to 1998, when the then New Labour government proposed giving the powers to local councils to help raise money for public transport. Powers to introduce road tolls - ‘the congestion charge’ - were also introduced at the same time and proved more tempting to local authorities.

Both Edinburgh and Greater Manchester proposed ambitious charging schemes and both were massively rejected in local referenda. No surprise, then, that the local councils have gone back to the rather easier method of taxing parking spaces. Bristol, Portsmouth and Southampton are also said to be close to pushing the button.