Monday, 23 December 2013

why another round of council bashing

According to the motoring organisation, in 2012-13 local authorities in England made a "profit" of £594m from parking charges and penalty notices (after deducting running costs)

However, 52 of the 353 parking authorities across England reported a deficit.  And just 10 Councils account for £188 million of the 'profit'.  Which leaves the other 291 Councils sharing £406 million, an average of £1.395 million.  Lets take a rough estimate then that most councils make about £10 per resident from parking charges.  Oh the outrage !

It is surely no surprise that many of the Councils with the biggest take form parking are also renown for low council tax levels - Westminster £39.7m, Kensington and Chelsea £30.44m, Hammersmith and Fulham £19.39m, Wandsworth £15.89m.

There seems to be an unspoken assumption that councils charging for parking are ripping off motorists.   But really - what people should think is that if councils didn't charge for parking and penalty notices they would either have to raise the money some other way or cut spending.  Secondly, they should think that it is good councils can manage assets on behalf of the community at a profit.  Car parks don't belong to councils but to residents who elect the councils.    Thirdly, when I think of Brighton - one of the top chargers, I also think of what it would be like if charges were lower and penalty notices not enforced.  Yes I wince a bit if I park in Brighton - but it makes me more likely to come in by train or bus or car share to avoid the charges. If people could park all day for a £1 - a few would be able to but most would find the spaces permanently occupied.  Traffic would grind to a halt as people park on double yellow lines or worse. 

So come on RAC - stop the council bashing.

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