COUNCIL bosses tonight confirmed they had considered levying a tax on office parking spaces in Oxford.

The Government is set to bring in a law which allows councils to charge businesses with 10 or more staff parking spaces £250 per spot.

It is suggested the fee would be passed on to workers to encourage employees to use public transport and cut congestion.

Nottingham is set to introduce the idea in 2012, but it has also emerged Oxford had investigated the idea.

City councillor Colin Cook, board member for city development, said the proposal had been considered, but not taken forward.

However, Mr Cook admitted if the city developed a more serious problem with congestion, the scheme could be given more thought.

He said: “I think it’s something we have considered, but there are various workplaces in Oxford where this sort of thing already exists.

“The universities and hospitals already charge for parking as part of their Green Travel Plan.

“Something like 40 per cent of the population already come into the city by public transport.

“If we had bigger problems here we might start considering it more seriously, but it’s not on the cards as far as I’m concerned.”

Oxfordshire County Council said discussions on the subject had taken place, but no firm proposals had been tabled.

Spokesman Marcus Mabberley was also unable to give details of the number of drivers travelling specifically into and out of the city for work.

Julia Iball, a managing partner of Henmans Solicitors, which has 149 parking space at Oxford Business Park South, said: “This workplace parking levy would hit enterprise hard in Oxford. The levy is does not address the practical implications for staff.

“While we encourage and have a number of local staff who either walk or cycle to work, many do not have this option.

“I have spoken to colleagues in other firms in the Oxford professional business community and we are surprised that this is even being considered in the current economic climate when businesses are being hit so hard by financial pressures.”

But the AA said fuel price hikes meant traffic in Oxford was likely to decrease anyway.

A spokesman added: “The way people have reacted to higher fuel prices has already had an effect on traffic congestion in city centres, it’s happening across the board.

“We have called (the levy) a tax on jobs because people would have to pay to get to work and if that happens you’re going to get some exceptionally angry people.

“I think if Oxford is even thinking about introducing this scheme it should look very closely at what happens in Nottingham first. “ But Sushila Dhall , city councillor and transport spokesman for the Green Party, said anything which discouraged people from driving to the city centre was a positive thing.

She said: “I think there is definitely too much traffic in the city centre.

“You only need to look at the Botley or Abingdon Roads to see that.

“There will always be people who need to drive, but from doing my traffic surveys, I can see the majority of people driving around the city centre are single, young, able-bodied people.”