Hundreds of GPs could be hit by the SNP’s hated car park tax – despite a supposed NHS exemption on the scheme.
The vast majority of practices across the country are privately run by doctors themselves, and not the local health board.
It means 793 surgeries would be hit with the unpopular tax, under the SNP proposals.
And with an average of five GPs working at each practice in Scotland - and the tax understood to be around £400 a year – the annual bill for Scotland’s doctors could be as much as £1.6 million.
The Scottish Conservatives asked the independent Scottish Parliament Information Service (SPICe) if privately contracted GPs would be exempt.
However, they responded: “Unfortunately there are, as yet, no details available on this proposal, only the few lines which were published in the following Scottish Budget press release.”
It’s the latest unravelling of the hare-brained plans, included at the last minute by finance secretary Derek Mackay to appease Holyrood’s six Green MSPs.
Businesses, motoring groups and teaching unions have all hit out the idea, and the SNP government has admitted not carrying out any economic analysis on it.
Even some SNP MSPs have begun to distance themselves from the tax.
Scottish Conservative shadow health secretary Miles Briggs said:
“The SNP stated NHS workers would be exempt from this ludicrous tax, an admission in itself that it was ill-judged.
“But now we learn hundreds of GP surgeries would face a penalty totalling around £1.6 million every year.
“And that’s being generous, by not including spaces surgeries would have for non-GP staff.
“GP practices are under enough pressure without having to find money to pay this.
“More problems emerge with this tax every day – it’s time for the SNP to drop it altogether.”
Notes to editors:
Information on GP practice contracts and sizes are available here.
There are 944 practices across Scotland, 86 per cent of which (793) are privately run.
Across 944 practices, there are 4994 GPs, an average of five per surgery.
If all 793 private practices had spaces for five GPs (not including other staff) at a rate of £400 per year, the bill would total nearly £1.6 million.