Motorists should receive 25 per cent discount on challenged parking fines, say MPs
Motorists who stand up to local councils and dispute parking fines should automatically receive a 25 per cent discount, MP watchdogs have said.
Motorists who choose to challenge a ticket automatically lose the right to a 50 per cent discount that is currently offered to those who pay up straight away, which is considered unfair by some MPs.
The suggestion is part of a blueprint for a proposed crackdown on councils that treat motorists as "wallets on wheels" and the new plans hope to alleviate some of the financial pressures placed on the modern motorist.
Other proposals include the outlawing of spy cameras that record the movements of drivers within restricted zones and automatically issue fines, usually without the motorist knowing until a letter arrives in the post.
In addition, motorists should not have to appeal against parking tickets where tribunal adjudicators have repeatedly identified a problem such as poor signage.
Councils will also be asked to produce annual parking-charge reports that show exactly where revenue has been generated and where that money is being used, says the new report published today by the House of Commons' Transport Select committee.
The BBC reported this morning that Committee chairman, Labour MP Louise Ellman, said: "There is a deep-rooted public perception that parking enforcement is used as a cash cow, so it's essential that local authorities apply stringent transparency."
On the subject of greater transparency among local councils, Mrs Ellman added: "Annual parking accounts would allow the public to see how much local revenue is derived from the enforcement of fines, and what proportion of this comes from on- or off-street parking charges.
"It's right that parking charges be determined locally, but hard to justify fines that substantially exceed penalties for more serious offences like speeding.
"Central government should freeze the maximum penalty charge and develop differential fines for less serious parking violations. "
AA president Edmund King welcomed many of the proposed changes outlined above but told the Daily Mail: "Offering a 25 per cent discount to those who lose appeals is a step in the right direction but we still feel that the full discount should be offered."