Administration councillors who “dodged” car parking charges by using designated visitor spaces should pay the money back, according to opposition parties.
Four SNP councillors – John Alexander, Bill Campbell, Alan Ross and Vari McDonald – have been accused of not paying a monthly £65 city centre monthly parking charge by taking advantage of a loophole, allowing them to stay in visitor spaces for free.
Labour and Lib Dem representatives have called on the councillors to pay back the money they avoided, with Labour Councillor Richard McCready saying it gave the impression those involved were implementing a “do as we say, not as we do” policy.
“If the council found a member of the public had exploited a similar type of loophole, they would take action to recover the money,” he said.
“There is a moral duty to pay back the money, at a time when public services continue to be cut.
“Councillors are told from day one what the cost of a parking permit is, in most cases it is taken direct from salaries.
“All of the councillors involved in this issue voted to increase the cost of parking in the city, and they all have a duty to the city.
“It feels as if they are saying ‘do as I say, not as I do’.”
The SNP maintain their councillors were incorrectly advised they could use the free bays when carrying out their public duties, and had “acted in good faith”.
Independent Bailie Ian Borthwick, who has served as a councillor for more than half a century, said councillors exclaiming “We didna ken”, was not a tenable excuse.
He said: “How this mistake could be made is beyond me, I hope it is sorted out as quickly as possible.
“When the charges were introduced, every member was told.
“If they offered to pay any of the money back, then it would go a small way to make up for the issue.”
Lib Dem representative, Councillor Fraser Macpherson, has called for a full inquiry as to why the accused councillors were able to exploit the loophole.
He said: “I was astonished to learn that some SNP councillors have been avoiding paying for parking at the council’s underground garage when everyone else in Dundee has to pay for their parking.
“What exactly went through the minds of these councillors that somehow they were so self-important that they were entitled to free parking when everyone else pays for permits is beyond me.
“In all innocence, I had always assumed that all councillors parking in the garage had paid their way and its shocking that anyone could get away with this for a prolonged period. The chief executive has to explain why this was allowed to happen.”
The SNP and each of the four councillors were contacted to ask if they would consider paying the money back, but none was forthcoming at time of going to print.