My right hon. Friend is aware of—and, indeed, welcomes— the Government’s commitment to providing an extra £20.5 billion in real terms for patient care over the next five years. Car parking charges are a matter for local NHS organisations, but most hospitals give concessions to some groups of users, such as patients who need extended or frequent access to hospitals.
Last year, the brain injury charity Headway said that it had paid a family £374 for hospital car parking charges. These charges are unacceptable. They are a stealth tax on patients, a stealth tax on the vulnerable and a stealth tax on staff. Will my hon. Friend scrap them once and for all?
I commend my right hon. Friend for being a tireless campaigner on this matter. We have always made clear that staff, patients and their families should not have to deal with the stress of complex and unfair charges, and we introduced tougher guidelines in 2014, but I must stress that this is a local matter.