Nine in ten councils will raise parking fees because of lack of funds

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Parking fees will rise in nine out of ten council areas as authorities aim to plug gaps in funding.

The Local Government Information Unit said huge holes in accounts across the country had forced authorities to act.

The AA's public affairs spokesman Luke Bosdet said: "If they intend to ramp up the pace of increase, it is a very worrying development for drivers but also shops that rely on people being able to park near them."

There are 375 councils in England and Wales and 131 took part in the annual survey.

A quarter of the town halls that said they were planning price hikes indicated that the price increases to things like parking fees and garden waste collections would make up more than five per cent of their budget for 2017/18.

Conservative MP Julian Knight, a member of the Communities and Local Government select committee, told The Telegraph: "Councils need to realise that parking is essential for businesses and retailers and when they are coming to a time when they are going to keep business rates relief, putting up parking charges in this way is going to be self-defeating.

"Councils need to be honest with their residents about their finances. Just trying to use these back-door methods to squeeze cash out of users is not right."

Jonathan Carr-West, chief executive of the Local Government Information Unit, said: "Local government finances across the country are in a dire state. Council budgets are stretched beyond measure.

"Increased demand coupled with the management of nearly a decade of cuts from the Government has left local government at breaking point. Everyone is expecting someone to fail. They are just hoping it won't be them."