Councils rake in £667m from parking charges

Councils across the country have raked in a £667 million profit this year from parking charges alone, according to the RAC.

A study from the RAC Foundation showed that local authorities made the multi-million figure throughout the 2013/2014 year, once running costs had been deducted from the income.

The figures show that motorists in London are the hardest hit by the fines, with councils in the capital making nearly half of the £667m figure on their own.

Westminster was the council who took home the biggest profit with £51 million made, while four other authorities in London completed the top five profit-making boards.

According to the RAC, the figures have suggested that parking charges are a significant addition to the financial burden motorists are already hit with, alongside fuel, repair, insurance and tax costs.

Stephen Glaister, the RAC Foundation’s director, said: “Parking profits seem to be a one-way street for councils, having risen annually for the last five years. Yet over the same period spending on local roads has fallen about a fifth in real terms.

“We understand the pressures councils are under with their overall income still falling and the level of services they have to provide in such areas as social care rising rapidly.”

However, he noted that parking profits could be coming to an end as much of the profit increase from this year apparently comes from cost-cutting and not penalties and charges.

He said: “This suggests local authorities are making efficiency savings and should bring some good news to both drivers and council tax payers.

“The bottom line is that parking policy and charges must be about managing traffic not raising revenue.”

The RAC reported that parking profit overall is up a total of 12 per cent over the previous financial year, with only a sixth of parking authorities running at a loss.

Alongside councils, the DVLA also sparked fury amongst motorists earlier in the month after it was revealed that it has made £22m in the past few years by selling the private details of drivers.

According to a freedom of information request, the authority has been selling drivers’ names, addresses and vehicle details to parking enforcement firms, which is used by companies to issue fines.

However, the DVLA defended itself by denying breach of Data Protection laws and said that it makes no profit from the sales, saying that the companies fund the process, rather than taxpayers.