Free car parking - data collection to understand possible VAT implications

1. Background to the survey

On 27 December 2019, the DHSC advised that with effect from April 2020 free car parking was to be made available for certain groups (including some workers).

However, the Covid-19 pandemic meant that on 25 March 2020, the DHSC published a press release that advised that  free car parking should be made available to all with immediate effect.

This House of Commons library research briefing states:
In September 2020, the Government said “free parking for disabled people, frequent outpatient attenders, parents of children staying overnight and staff working night shifts” will become mandatory from January 2021. Speaking in December 2020, the Health Minister, Edward Argar, said this requirement will contain some flexibility, as Trusts will still be required to provide free parking to all staff for the duration of the Coronavirus pandemic.

The HFMA's VAT sub-committee has noted that changing to free car parking may have VAT implications. The HMRC have asked us to gather some information to be able to assess the possible impact of providing free car parking across the NHS estate.

This short survey will be anonymous, unless you would like to provide your details, but will help HMRC understand how this policy is being delivered and its impact on NHS bodies. Please respond to the survey by 31 March.

Please contact Debbie Paterson (, policy and technical manager, for further information.

1. Which type of organisation do you work for?


2. HMRC need to understand the range of car parking facilities that are in existence across the NHS estate.

Number of car parksApproximate number of spaces (total)
Owned, managed and operated by the NHS body
Owned and managed by the NHS body but operated by a third party
Owned by the NHS but fully contracted out
Owned and contracted out by a third part

3. Please provide some more detail on how each type of the arrangement works.


4. As the arrangements have changed during 2020/21 into 2021/22, it would be useful to which groups have been given or will be given free parking

April to June 2020July to September 2020October to December 2020January to April 2021April 2021 onwards
Blue badge holders
Frequent outpatients attending regular appointments for long term conditions
Parents/carers of sick children staying in hospital overnight
Visitors and carers of staff who have an extended stay in hospital
Relatives of those who are who are gravely ill
Staff working night shifts
NHS staff any time of day
Social care staff any time of day
Volunteers any time of day
Other (please provide details)

5. How is free car parking made available at the moment (during the pandemic)?

Number of car parksNumber of spaces (total)
Badge or ticket placed in the window
Automatic number plate recognition
Dedicated free spaces
Full payment at point of parking that is reclaimed from the NHS body
Adjustment to arrangements with third parties to allow for free parking

6. Please provide details for how you have (or plan) to effect the implementation of free parking from January 2021


7. This policy will clearly have an impact on NHS bodies' income - are there any other consequences that members feel should be brought to the attention of HMRC?


8. This survey is anonymous but if you would be happy for the HFMA to contact you about this issue please provide your contact details below. These will not be passed on to HMRC without your permission


CLICK HERE to visit the HFMA website.

Collection of this information is subject to the HFMA privacy policy which is available from HERE.

Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA) is a registered charity in England and Wales, no 1114463 and Scotland, no SCO41994
HFMA is also a limited company registered in England and Wales, no 5787972.