“Who benefits?” Is the first question to ask in light of any new charging scheme.
In the case of Island Green’s new controversial car parking charges, where people have been fined £90 for just driving in to drop off relatives or friends, there are two clear winners:
1. The Tuckers
Barry Tucker and his wife Rita own Euro Car Parks Ltd and its holding company ECP (Holdings) plc.
I’m choosing my words very carefully because Mr Tucker is also a very high-profile criminal lawyer who founded Tuckers Solicitors in 1980.
He and his wife took a dividend of £1.6m in 2017 (the last audited accounts) from their car parking business on top of an undisclosed directors’ emoluments (payments).
I’m sure Mr Tucker would not want his reputation sullied by association with such unpopular tactics.
2. The Teachers insurance and annuities association
This is an enormous insurance firm based in the USA. Through a string of companies right down to TH Real Estate, it owns Island Green Shopping Park. It’s unclear how much it makes from this one single asset as it is a trillion-dollar operation.
However, ECP make it clear that a significant amount of their revenue (some £11m of £37m in 2017 - see below) is transferred to owners of the sites they manage. It’s reasonable therefore to assume that a proportion of people’s fines in Wrexham are going to fund teachers’ pensions in the USA.
Plaid Cymru locally is supporting the planned protest against these unjust charges and will also be making representations to both parties who are benefitting from the fines being imposed on local people.