Local councils blame austerity for lack of investment in road improvements

11 Jan 19

Council leaders have hit back at suggestions rising revenues from car parking charges are not re-invested in roads in Great Britain.

All surplus income generated from parking charges was funnelled back into “essential transport projects”, the Local Government Association said, responding to a report from price comparison website confused.com.

Councils in Great Britain made £847m from parking activities in the 2017-18 financial year, according to confused.com’s analysis of government data.

This was a 24% increase (£165m) on the £682m they earned in 2013-14, the report calculated from local authorities’ published accounts. Over the same period, however, their spending on road improvements fell from £2.8bn to £2.4bn, confused.com said.

Amanda Stretton, confused.com motoring editor, said: “While councils are often justified in charging for parking and issuing fines for illegal parking, many motorists are confused about why this money isn’t being re-invested into our roads.

“Poor road conditions is a major concern for drivers, with roads riddled with potholes and unclear markings, it’s no wonder drivers want councils to be putting more into making these better.”

The LGA said the report ignored the effects of  austerity on councils.

Martin Tett, Transport, spokesman for the Local Government Association, which represents 370 councils in England and Wales, said: “Any income raised through on-street parking charges and parking fines is spent on running parking services and any surplus is only spent on essential transport projects, such as tackling our national £9 billion roads repair backlog and other local transport projects that benefit high streets and local economies.

“This report completely ignores central government funding reductions. Between 2010 and 2020, councils will have lost 57p out of every £1 the government had provided for services, which is a much more significant source of funding for roads than surplus parking income.”

He added: “Surplus parking income is not the only source of money for roads and not all transport spend is spent on roads but can still be helpful to motorists, such as supporting concessionary bus fares to help reduce congestion.”

A government-commissioned report recently advised councils to slash parking charges to bring shoppers back to the high street. The High Street Report was carried out by a panel led by retail expert John Timpson.

Did you enjoy this article?