Councils' parking revenue to rise

Parking attendantMoney made from parking charges and fines by English councils is set to rise, Government figures today showed.

English councils expect that net income on parking services (off-street and on-street parking) was expected to increase from £601 million in 2012/13 to £635 million in 2013/14.

The figures were released by the Department for Communities and Local Government under English local authority revenue and expenditure plans for 2013/14.

Earlier this week it was reported that Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles was interested in considering allowing drivers to park on double yellow lines for 15 minutes if they were making just a short visit to a shop.

Business Secretary Vince Cable expressed some support for the measure but Transport Minister Norman Baker has expressed reservations.

Local Government Minister has said that ministers were " considering what further steps can be taken to ensure that town hall parking policies and practices support local high streets".

Commenting on the parking figures for 2013/14 today, Mr Pickles said: "This £635 million municipal parking profit shows why we need to review and rein in unfair town hall parking rules.

"This Government has scrapped the last administration's Whitehall rules which told councils to hike up parking charges and adopt aggressive parking enforcement. But councils aren't listening, and local shops and hard-working families are suffering as a result. The law is clear that parking is not a tax or cash cow for town hall officers."

AA president Edmund King said the predicted rise in parking income was "shocking".

He went on: "Families and businesses are struggling with high fuel prices and the towns and cities that want their business are unnecessarily ramping up parking profits which ultimately damages trade and the local economy.

"In an AA/Populus poll, 81% said the cost of parking was an important factor when considering a trip into town. The greedy local authorities need to recognise that local economies can be boosted by attracting car-borne shoppers who have money to spend.

"But, ripping them off before they even set foot in local businesses could mean that, next time, those customers will go elsewhere. It is time tariffs were reduced and not increased as has been happening."