Council One Of Top 10 "Parking Bullies"

Wandsworth remain 6th in England but sum raised slightly reduced

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The RAC Foundation, which used data from councils’ annual returns to the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG), said that councils had taken 5 per cent more than in 2011-12, a sum of almost £30 million.
The motoring charity calculated the councils’ profits by adding income from parking charges and penalties and deducting running costs and found that only 52 of the 353 parking authorities in England reported a deficit this year.

The report found that english local authorities make almost £600 million from parking resulting in another record surplus from their parking activities.

In 2012-13 councils generated a combined ‘profit’ of £594 million from their day to day, on and off street parking operations. This is a 5% increase on the 2011-12 figure of £565 million.

Although not all councils made a large surplus, very few lose money on their parking activities. Just 52 (15%) of the 353 parking authorities in England reported negative numbers.

The figures are calculated by adding up income from parking charges and penalty notices, then deducting running costs.

Even after allowing for capital charges (interest and depreciation), the combined surplus in 2012-13 was still £460 million. This is a 12% increase on the £412 million figure for 2011-12. (The full table of all councils is here.)

The data, studied for the RAC Foundation by David Leibling, comes from the annual returns that councils make to the Department for Communities and Local Government.

The authority with the largest surplus in 2012-13 was Westminster with £39.7 million. The four biggest earners were all London authorities with only Brighton, Nottingham and Manchester breaking into a top ten dominated by councils in the capital.

Professor Stephen Glaister, director of the RAC Foundation, said:
“It is a case of déjà 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.

“It might be that some of the extra ‘profit’ has arisen because councils’ costs for running parking services have been reduced but drivers need to know this. There’s no disputing the figures we have looked at. They are the numbers the councils themselves submit to central government. What’s more, council budgets show that the surplus for the current year is set to be higher still.”

In November Wandsworth Council reported that they had fixed over 10,000 potholes in teh borough as part of a major street repair project. A spokesman for Wandsworth Council told
" Any surplus income from parking must by law be spent on improving highways and other transport-related issues. This includes maintaining roads and pavements and also funding the Freedom Pass scheme for older residents, taxicards for disabled people and paying the travel costs of disabled children and those with special needs who need help getting to and from special schools."

A spokeswoman 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."

December 23, 2013