Councils in England have seen their parking ‘profits’ rise
by almost a third (32%) in just four years, according to the latest analysis by
the RAC Foundation.
In 2017/18, the combined surplus made by the 353 English
local authorities was £867 million, up from £658 million in 2013/14.
Total income from both on- and off-street parking activity
was £1.66 billion in 2017/18. Total expenditure was £793 million. Additionally,
councils may incur interest payments or depreciation on their capital assets
such as car parks, though that was not accounted for in the official figures.
The difference between the two - £867 million - is the surplus or profit.
That is 6% more than the £819 million made in the previous
financial year (2016/17). It is also 11% higher than the £782 million surplus
that the councils themselves had budgeted for.
The analysis by David Leibling for the RAC Foundation showed
that of the 353 councils which made official financial returns to central
government, only 39 made a loss from their parking activities. Once again, the
councils with the biggest surpluses were in London. Data is available at: https://www.racfoundation.org/media-centre/english-council-parking-profits-rise-again
Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, said: “When
totted up council parking income amounts to a multi-million-pound business.
“Our purpose in publishing this analysis is not to suggest
the existence of any sharp practice, but to encourage motorists to seek out and
read their own local authority’s annual parking report - and ask some pointed
questions if their authority doesn’t publish one.
“We think it is
important that motorists check for themselves whether their own council’s
explanation of the level of charges, penalties and details of how the net
income is then spent reflects, as it should, the use of parking controls purely
as a tool to manage traffic.”