English councils rake in £930m parking surplus in 2018-19

Councils in England made a surplus of £930 million from parking operations in 2018-19, up seven per cent on the previous financial year

English councils made a total combined surplus of £930 million from parking operations in the 2018-19 financial year - an increase of seven per cent on 2017-18’s figure of £867 million and up 41 per cent on the £651 million made in 2013-14.

The 353 local authorities in England who reported their parking revenues to central Government received a gross income of £1.746 billion from on-street and off-street parking operations in 2018-19. Of this, £454 million came from penalties - six per cent more than the £428 million in 2017-18. The figures exclude the £9.7 million generated from Nottingham’s workplace parking levy and any parking revenues from national parks.

• Surge in driver details sold to private parking firms

According to figures reported to the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government and analysed by the RAC Foundation, £816 million was spent running council parking operations in the same 2018-19 financial year, not including interest payments or depreciation on capital assets such as car parks. 

The difference between the income and expenditure figures reveals a £930 million net operating surplus, which, if the councils were private companies, would be deemed ‘profit’. Of the 353 councils analysed, only 41 reported a net loss from their parking operations. 

As in previous years, councils in London generate the most net income from parking operations. Westminster topped the list with a net surplus of £69.2 million, followed by Kensington & Chelsea with £37.3 million and Wandsworth with £26.3 million. 

Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, commented: “Every year the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government produces their tally of English councils’ income from, and expenditure on, parking.

• Two-thirds of drivers avoid pay-by-phone parking bays

“Because the official numbers exclude the cost of servicing parking-related capital investment funded from borrowing, the resulting surplus of income over costs might be overstated for some councils.

“Penalties now seem to account for nearly half of all on-street parking income. What will surprise drivers is that even as parking income soars, the amount of money being spent on routine road maintenance by councils has been in reverse.”

Have you been paying more for parking this year? Tell us in the comments below...

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