Council parking profit hits record high in England

Parking meter
23 Dec, 2013 10:50am Joe Finnerty

Almost £600 million has been raked in by local authorities from parking activities

Councils in England have generated a record combined parking ‘profit’ of £594million through charges and fines.

The figures released by the RAC Foundation show the surplus for 2012-13 is a five per cent increase from the previous year. Unsurprisingly, the capital’s local authorities dominate the top 10 with Westminster collecting £39.7million. Brighton (£16.25m), Nottingham (£11.79m) and Manchester (£8.77m) were the only places on the high-earners list outside London.

The surplus is calculated by deducting running costs from the income generated by parking charges and penalty notices. Just 52 (15 per cent) of the 353 parking authorities in England reported a loss.

Budgets submitted to the Department for Communities and Local Government by local authorities suggest the surplus for the current financial year could top £600m.

The high figures come just weeks after Communities Secretary Eric Pickles announced plans to target ‘aggressive’ and ‘over zealous’ parking policies.

Professor Stephen Glaister, director of the RAC Foundation, said it was a case of ‘déjà vu’ with parking incomes up yet expenditure on roads and road safety down.

He said: “The government’s recent decision to consult on changes to parking rules and regulations is timely and we have always argued that at the very least all councils should publish an annual parking report to explain how much money is collected from drivers and, just as importantly, where that cash is going.

“It might be that some of the extra ‘profit’ has arisen because councils’ costs for running parking services have been reduced but drivers need to know this.

“There’s no disputing the figures we have looked at. They are the numbers the councils themselves submit to central government. What’s more, council budgets show that the surplus for the current year is set to be higher still.”

However, Peter Box, chairman of the Local Government Association’s economy and transport board, defended the statistics and said the councils were on the side of motorists.

“This report further peddles the myth that councils are using parking charges to raise money,” he said.

“Councils do not make a profit from parking. All income from charges and fines is spent on running parking services and any surplus goes on essential transport projects such as bringing our dilapidated road network up to scratch and providing subsidised bus travel for children or elderly residents."

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And they wonder why the Highstreets are dieing ! Public transport costs to much to use and I never go anywhere that charges for parking unless i'm on holiday. I'd rather go to a retail park with free parking. and the vast majority of the public feel the same.

Can't blame Tesco & Asda for killing of the village shops with free parking, thanks to greedy councils who rob you blind in council tax bill that costs more than a mortgage or car loan every month.

No wonder those greedy pigs with their snouts in the trough running these councils are paying themselves £200,000 plus a year wages, more the British Prime Minister, absolutely disgusting!!!

What toe-curling propaganda this statement is:

"Councils do not make a profit from parking. All income from charges and fines is spent on running parking services and any surplus goes on essential transport projects such as bringing our dilapidated road network up to scratch and providing subsidised bus travel for children or elderly residents."

Nonsense. That's what council tax is for - any surplus a council has is more likely to be blown on some nonsensical left wing scheme, expenses, pay rises, jollies abroad, jollies at home, etc...

You may laugh, more likely cry but in Pembrokeshire, West Wales the councillor responsible for parking costs INSISTED that local shops wanted parking charges raised, and Yes, our Council Chief Exec earns £200k for his onerous responsibilities(even managing to avoid to pay tax on his pension contributions after an "open meeting" in his office )
PS we're also closing public toilets so all you tourists thinking of coming to Pembrokeshire - cross your legs!

The vast majority of the public obviously don't feel the same because then the councils wouldn't make such enormous sums of money.
Near where I live there is a road where the speed bumps are the smoothest part yet I have to pay £3 an hour to park in the city centre. The car parks are often full or nearly full so that's a lot of income. I'm fairly certain it wouldn't cost a huge sum to replace this 200 metre stretch of road.

The government, council what a bunch of clowns, all these charges nothing but money making scheme for them only. None of it goes towards improving transport, making place safer or fixing anything anyway ! They always encourage people to use public transport and leave car at home or sell the damm car, let me think... engineering works on trains all time, buses always always late & sometimes when they do turn up they don't stop because its full so that's extra 15/20 min wait for another !

For the first time in 53 years I have been caught unintentionally straying into a bus lane.
Shoesmith was awarded £600,000 for the death of Baby P..
A driver was fined for allowing a passenger to alight on a yellow line.
A cannabis grower was let off with a caution because it was his first offence.
For my first offence I disobeyed a bureaucratic diktat which caused nobody, or anything, any harm whatsoever and was fined £130, which is two and half week's shopping out of my pension!
There was no mitigating circumstances as a first offence because Southwark council needs the money since it elected to not charge residents council tax as its own political protest against the goivernment, but now has to charge the residents who now resent it.
How not to run a council in one easy lesson!

Central government assumes that local authorities will gain an income from parking charges and adjusts financial support accordingly. There is nothing local authorities can do about this. All those harrumphing about parking charges presumably want things like refuse collection to continue but in true British fashion don't want to pay for them.