SINCE I live outside Palma I am a frequent short-stay user of the city's car parking facilities. My preference for various reasons is for street-parking and in this I am always indebted to the unofficial car-parkers who signal that there is a vacant space, or that another car is about to leave, and who are especially helpful when one is reversing out of a space into fast-moving traffic. They do an important and good job and deserve a small tip for their trouble.

I was therefore disappointed to read in this newspaper that the Palma Council intends to replace these helpful people with salaried and uniformed “parking support and public assistance officers” who will not expect any tip. I was equally disappointed to see these people described as “often of immigrant or drug or alcohol-dependent origin”. Those I know are invariably polite, friendly and do not push for a tip. The change is the brainchild of Eberhard Grosske, Social Welfare and Citizen Participation Councillor, who has said that “The former tip-seeking car parkers were nearly always seen by residents as another problem rather than a solution.” I cannot speak for residents but I can say that as a visitor to Palma I see them as a solution not a problem. Furthermore the suggestion that the new service is “free of charge” to the public is wrong - all residents will pay for it whereas under the previous arrangement only those parking their cars paid.