SCOTTISH Tories in Aberdeenshire have been accused of selling “disingenuous slogans” to the public over their campaigning against the car park tax.

The Tory-led council had already elected not to impose the workplace parking levy, but continued to publicly fight the policy anyway.

This also comes after the council opted to remove free parking periods in pay and display car parks last month.

The leader of Aberdeenshire Council, Jim Gifford, posted pictures on Twitter of a Tory street stall in Inverurie on Saturday where he brandished placards reading “Stop the SNP car park tax” and warning of £500 fees.

The workplace parking tax, introduced as part of Finance Secretary Derek Mackay’s Scottish Budget, gives councils the power to charge employers an annual tax for every parking space they provide for employees.

Bosses can decide to pay the bill themselves, or pass on some or all of the cost to workers.

Similar taxes have been in force in English councils for over 20 years.

Deputy First Minister John Swinney tweeted yesterday that the levy “empowers councils”, something which the Scottish Conservatives had previously called for.

He said that affording such powers to councils were “key Tory demands they now condemn,” and that the tax was introduced “as part of a Budget process in which the Tories took no active part.”

Swinney also noted that Tory demands on tax would have seen public spending slashed by £500m.

SNP MSP for Aberdeenshire East, Gillian Martin, blasted Gifford’s actions as “embarrassing”.

“The so-called campaigning by the Scottish Tories last week was ridiculous.

“In the case of Aberdeenshire Council Tory leader Jim Gifford it was especially embarrassing given that just two days previously his administration had said it would not impose a workplace parking levy.

“Of course, Tories know that all the Government have done is give councils the powers to decide if they want to implement this discretionary power – nothing else.”

She went on: “But why let the truth get in the way of a disingenuous slogan you can stick on a placard to misinform your constituents and get them about a non-existent tax that they don’t need to pay?”

Leader of the SNP group on Aberdeenshire Council, Richard Thomson, also condemned the “breathtaking” hypocrisy on show from the Scots Tories.

“The hypocrisy of the Conservatives in Aberdeenshire is frankly breathtaking. In January, their councillors voted to remove free parking periods in pay and display car parks.

“Now, they are campaigning against a parking levy only their councillors can implement, but which they have already agreed at their budget meeting last week not to,” he said.

However, Thomson also went on to raise concerns of underhand Tory tactics via the petition on the tax given to members of the public to fill out.

“The small print on the petition they are asking people to sign states that they ‘will not share your details with anyone outside of the Conservative Party’, which can only mean that they are keeping people’s details for the Conservative Party’s own political use,” he said.

“They are making an argument that they know to be utterly bogus, just to harvest people’s personal details so they can bombard them with further misinformation at a later date.

“It’s absolutely shameful and if Aberdeenshire’s Tories had an ounce of honesty or integrity they would apologise, cease and desist.”