Parking Making Big Profits For Councils

Councils have been accused of making huge profits from parking charges and fines.

Councils across England made £565 million in profits in 2011/12, according to figures from the RAC Foundation. This is a £54m increase in the surplus left over in 2010/11, said the foundation.

£18.6 million of that was from councils in Hampshire and West Sussex.

Winchester increased it's surplus to £3 million, Southampton to £2.8 million and Portsmouth's went up to £1.9 million. West Sussex, Havant and Gosport also saw increases.

The New Forest, Isle of Wight, Chichester and Fareham were among those which saw a drop in profits between 2011 and 2012.

The authority with the biggest surplus, before spending on road infrastructure was taken into account, was Westminster Council in London with £41.6m in 2011/12.

Second, with a surplus of £28.1m was Kensington and Chelsea with the north London council of Camden in third place with £25m.

Only Brighton and Hove and Cornwall councils broke into a top 10 dominated by London authorities.

Here are the full details for all the South Coast's councils:

Council

2011/2012

2010/2011

National ranking by 2011/12 surplus

Winchester

£3,083,000

£2,839,000

46

Southampton

£2,830,000

£2,688,000

51

Chichester

£2,546,000

£2,548,000

55

Isle Of Wight

£2,443,000

£2,537,000

63

Portsmouth

£1,986,000

£1,700,000

77

Christchurch

£1,504,000

£1,440,000

102

Fareham

£1,433,000

£1,474,000

108

Eastleigh

£1,415,000

£1,177,000

110

New Forest

£961,000

£974,000

143

East Hampshire

£760,000

£769,000

159

West Sussex

£497,000

-£360,000

201

Gosport

£359,000

£247,000

230

Havant

£325,000

£299,000

236

Hampshire

£74,000

£73,000

284

RAC Foundation director Professor Stephen Glaister said:

"For many local authorities, parking charges are a nice little earner, especially in London.

"Not all authorities make big sums. Several run a current account deficit and indeed of those with surpluses, many will see the money vanish when capital expenditure is taken into account.

"But the bottom line is that hundreds of millions of pounds are being contributed annually to council coffers through parking charges."

Peter Box, chairman of the Local Government Association's economy and transport board, said:

"Parking revenue is spent on paying for parking services.

"Any money left over goes towards transport services like filling potholes, concessionary travel, park and rides, street lights and road improvement projects.

"As the RAC Foundation report makes clear, many councils have to subsidise parking services as the cost is not covered by charges.

"Parking charges and fines help councils keep traffic flowing and pedestrians and motorists safe. They also help keep the roads clear for emergency services and business deliveries, and ensure people can park near their homes or local shops."

Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles said:

"This profit shows why we need to review and rein in unfair town hall parking rules.

"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."

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