Councils across England earn an average of £866,000 a day from drivers looking to use on-street parking in town centres.
In total, British councils made a profit of £317million from both tickets and fines in 2013 – an increase of over 50 per cent since the 2010 general election.
Local authorities have come under fire, accused of using motorists to fill shortfalls in budgets, which goes against rules that state parking charge revenues should be used solely to improve the transport network.
The rise in profits comes as the Coalition government slashed local authority funding, and instead of making required cuts to services and staff wages, they’re attempting to raise cash elsewhere.
The problem is such that councils are being blamed by business owners for destroying town centres, driving away business by penalising drivers, who are turning to out-of-town shopping centres and the Internet.
Edmund King, president of AA, told the Daily Mail: “These figures raise further serious questions about whether the high profits from on-street parking are genuinely returned to transport schemes as is required.
“Road users tell us they are fed up with having to put up with crumbling, potholed and flooded roads, so where do the parking profits drivers generate go?”
A potential solution to the problem, put forward by Local Government Minister Brandon Lewis, could be to force councils to produce annual reports on parking enforcement profits to ensure money is spent on improving roads and any savings are passed on to motorists.
“The law is extremely clear that on-street parking may not be used as a source of general revenue. We have published detailed proposals to rein in over-zealous practices and stand up for hard-working people and support local shops,” he said.
January 10, 2014