UK councils make £600m profit in parking charges and fines

Councils in the UK are making record sums from car-parking charges and fines, according to the RAC Foundation.

In 2012-13, local authorities made a total “profit” of £594m.

Seven out of the 10 councils which raised the largest sums are in London. Westminster Council topped the list, generating £39.7m through parking activities.

The figures were calculated by adding up the revenue taken from parking charges and fines, and subtracting the running costs.

The figure is up 5% from last year’s £565m.

The RAC Foundation said that the steep figures have come as spending on roads has fallen.

However, the Local Government Association said that local councils were on motorists’ side.

The RAC Foundation has said that budgets submitted to central government for the current financial year also show that councils are likely to make greater surplus sums through parking next year.

The only areas outside London to make the top 10 were Brighton and Hove, Nottingham and Manchester.

Professor Stephen Glaister, director of the RAC Foundation, said: “It is a case of deja vu. Once again English councils have made record amounts from parking.

“Yet overall spending on local roads has fallen by 9% over the past three years with road safety expenditure down by as much as 20%.

“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.”

In September, communities secretary Eric Pickles said that cameras used by councils to catch people parking illegally could be banned, and some places with double yellow lines could be reviewed in a bid to prevent authorities from making a profit through parking activities.

But Peter Box, chairman of the Local Government Association, said: “”This report further peddles the myth that councils are using parking charges to raise money.”

He added that councils don’t profit from parking, because the extra money goes towards maintaining roads and subsidised bus fares.

However, according to the BBC, a spokesman for the department for communities and local government said: “Parking fines have become an unjust form of arbitrary taxation, corrupting Britain’s justice system and fleecing innocent drivers.

“This government is taking action to rein in the town hall parking bullies.”

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Readers' comments (1)

  • It's absolutely true. Councils look on motorists as cash cows. Cameras are deliberately sited where it is almost impossible for motorists to avoid contraventions, such as some bus lanes, hatched areas etc. So call safety cameras are sited where they are most likely to catch speeding motorists, usually on long straight stretches or just around the corner, although always supposedly only where a death has occurred. Councils benefit from speed-training courses instead of fines, because they get the money, whereas fines go to the Treasure. Naturally, all this is denied by all involved-they are quite shameless.

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