Government backs call for greater parking charges transparency

10 Jan 14
Ministers have endorsed suggestions from MPs that local authorities be required to publish annual parking revenue accounts

In a report published in October, the Commons transport select committee drew attention to a ‘deep-rooted’ public perception that councils use parking charges as a means of raising revenue and called for greater transparency over where parking income comes from and how it is spent.

In its response, published today, the government said it supported greater transparency in council parking accounts and agreed that annual accounts should be collated and made public.

‘Local authorities should collect and publish data on revenue collected from on-street parking, off-street parking and parking enforcement notices under the General Fund Revenue Account Outturn Guidance and the Department for Transport’s statutory guidance to local authorities on the Civil Enforcement of Parking Contraventions under Traffic Management Act 2004,’ it stated.

Committee chair Louise Ellman said: ‘It is gratifying to hear that ministers have accepted our recommendation for greater transparency, particularly our suggestion that local authorities should in future have to produce annual reports on parking enforcement. Parking charges should not be imposed to raise funding for local authorities.’

She also welcomed government support for the committee’s recommendation that councils be required to allow a statutory ‘grace period’ for motorists who overstay their parking ticket by a few minutes and the availability of a 25% discount for motorists who pay promptly after losing an appeal.

Peter Box, chair of the LGA’s economy and transport board, said many authorities already publish annual parking accounts.

‘The reality is that income from charges and fines are 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 and elderly residents,’ he said.

Last month, an analysis of local government finance data by the RAC Foundation found councils generate a £600m surplus from parking charges.

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