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English Councils car parking ‘profit’ accelerates to £867m

English Councils car parking ‘profit’ accelerates to £867m

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.”