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The times they are a-changin’

MiPermit founder Paul Moorby OBE looked to the future of the parking sector

01 October 2023
Paul Moorby OBE

 

The British Parking Awards have reflected the ever evolving nature of the UK parking scene over the past 21 years, so it seemed appropriate that transformation was a central theme of Paul Moorby OBE’s introduction to the event. Moorby is the co-founder and chief executive of Chipside, who is an active ambassador for the UK technology sector on the international stage and closely involved in a number of regional development initiatives.

Moorby used his keynote address at the awards ceremony to recognise the excellent work done by hard-pressed public sector parking teams: “I want to pay tribute to the local authorities running parking across the UK. You can’t make things squeak much more. The budget cuts that you’re seeing have been brutal for well over 15 years now, and they are likely to continue. I say to the suppliers, to the technologists, to the inventors, to the forethinkers here today, please let’s all get together and give a round of applause to the local authorities in this room.”

Moorby reflected on how the parking sector has embraced concepts such as career development and is working to diversify its workforce. “One of the things that we have worked hard in our industry is to get women through the glass ceiling,” he said. “I am delighted to see lots more women in senior positions. But I think you’ll agree there’s much more to do.”

Moorby shared his concerns about how people could be priced out of driving, and so lose access to the personal mobility that has driven economic growth for decades.

“Change is coming to the parking industry,” he predicted. “You may know that there is an argument that we have reached peak car, peak people, peak opportunity. I want to say I don’t necessarily believe that. In actual fact, I don’t believe we’ve reached peak car.

“I have said many times on many stages across the world, that the car –  personal mobility – has driven individual social wealth to the greatest heights the United Kingdom has ever seen. There is much, much more to do. I would urge every policymaker in this room to battle hard, to fight hard against people, who quite simply want to ban the car. The pace of change in the next 10 years through the climate emergency is going to hit us all incredibly hard. It’s going to take all of our combined brains. I urge everybody, particularly people talking to government, that the climate emergency is real.

“There is an alternative to just simply pricing cars off the road. But what I will predict right now there are two significant threats. The first one is the digital sales tax. If you’ve moved away from cash into digital, there is a proposal at the World Trade Organization that potentially means every digital transaction receives VAT. That is a no-no for persuading the public to adopt digital.

“The second threat is quite simply that you mustn’t, I urge, make the car elitist. There are people like me, born and bred in Grimsby, with not a penny to my name, who used the car to get to where I am today. And there are many people in rural society that need that car to take part in urban life. We need to make sure that the non-carbon alternatives are affordable. So please, if you’re designing systems, if you’re designing apps, please help me and let’s make sure that we keep the car affordable.”

Just as the British Parking Awards are celebrating a major anniversary, so too is Chipside, which was launched 20 years ago. Chipside is the developer of the MiPermit service, which is the headline sponsor of the awards

Speaking after the event, Moorby said: “Chipside was founded in 2003 with a founding principle of partnership. Without our suppliers, without our team, we’d be nothing. That’s what drives Chipside. We here today because our customers urged us to form Chipside. It is important to say that I am nothing without my team, my fellow founders and the support of our customers, many of which have been there for the whole 20 years since our founding. What a journey so far – there’s more to come! Thank you to one and to all.”

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