Councils expected to rake in 4% more in parking charges this year

1 Jul 19

Government figures show English councils are likely to make a £913m profit from parking charges in 2019-20.

Although, the amount could rise as councils historically underestimate this source of income, according to the RAC Foundation, which published the data over the weekend

Councils have underestimated the amount they raise through parking by an average of between 9% and 10% over the past three financial years, according to the transport research organisation.

The £913m total, which is based on figures given by 343 English councils to the Ministry of Housing, Community and Local Government, is a 4% rise on the predicted income from last year.

The top six councils expected to receive the most were all in London: Westminster (£72m), Kensington and Chelsea (£36m), Camden (£28m), Islington (£26m), Wandsworth (£26m) and Hammersmith and Fulham (£26m).

Numbers were calculated by taking all parking income – charges, residents’ permit, penalties – and then subtracting day-to-day running costs of providing parking.

Of the 343 councils analysed, 278 were expecting to make a profit and just 65 said they would break even.

Martin Tett, the Local Government Association’s transport spokesman, said: “Councils are on the side of motorists and shoppers. They have to strike a balance when setting parking policy, both on-street and off-street, to make sure that there are spaces available for residents, high streets are kept vibrant and traffic is kept moving.

“Councils don’t make profit on parking charges. Any income raised through on-street parking charges 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 transport projects that benefit high streets and local economies.”

Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, said: “It would be no surprise at all if English councils soon breached the one billion-pound mark for the amount they make annually from parking, which is quite a windfall from a service that is intended to be all about managing traffic.

“Not every authority makes big money, some even run at loss, but where authorities are making money drivers might reasonably hope that some finds its way specifically into tackling road repairs not just on transport more generally.”

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