A map has revealed which councils are raking in the most from parking charges after cash-strapped town halls took nearly £1billion in profits from the fees last year.
Official data out yesterday showed local authorities in England banked a staggering £1.95billion from parking fees, permits, fines and car park rent in 2022-23.
With operating costs stripped out, £962million of this was profit, according to the figures released by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities.
Both totals were an all-time high and it means that takings have surged above pre-Covid-19 pandemic levels for the first time – with town halls now facing accusations of using drivers as ‘cash cows’.
The totals do not include the money raked in from other charges from anti-car measures such as clean air zones and low-traffic neighbourhoods, which growing numbers of councils have been rolling out.
Parking charge takings have now surged above pre-Covid-19 pandemic levels for the first time
The data sparked fresh accusations that cash-strapped town halls are cynically using motorists as ‘cash cows’ to boost their coffers.
Councils in England raking in the most from parking charges
TOP 3 IN LONDON
- Westminster City Council – £103million takings (£71.6million profit)
- Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea – £53.7million takings (£41million profit)
- London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham – £53.3million takings (£34.7million profit)
TOP 3 OUTSIDE LONDON
- Brighton & Hove City Council – £45.2million takings (£30.1million profit)
- Nottingham City Council – £23.2million takings (£14.7million profit)
- Bournemouth, Christchurch & Poole Council – £23.1million takings (£13.4million profit)
And critics added that it was no wonder high streets across the country are ‘on their knees’ as rising charges often drive shoppers online.
Top of the league table was Westminster City Council in London, which took in £103million from parking charges last year – £282,191 a day or £196 a minute. Of this, £71.6million was profit.
It was followed by the neighbouring boroughs of Kensington and Chelsea, which took in £53.7million (£41million profit), and Hammersmith & Fulham, which raked in £53.3million (£34.7million profit).
Outside of the capital, Brighton & Hove City Council raked in the most – £45.2million (£30.1million profit).
This was followed by Nottingham City Council, which took in £23.2million (£14.7million profit) and Bournemouth, Christchurch & Poole Council, which banked £23.1million (£13.4million profit).
It comes after Prime Minister Rishi Sunak vowed to end the ‘war on motorists’ at the Conservative Party Conference this month with a raft of measures aimed at curbing ‘over-zealous’ councils and private operators from unfairly clobbering motorists.
His ‘Plan for Drivers’ included warning town halls that they face being locked out of the DVLA database, which allows them to issue fines, if they fail to follow the rules.
Conservative MP Greg Smith, who sits on the Commons transport committee, said: ‘There are some councils that are categorically taking the mickey. Some of the rates being charged are criminal.
‘Local authorities need to find ways of raising revenue, but it’s the lazy option to always draw a circle round motorists and empty them out for all they’ve got.
Councils banked £1.95billion from parking fees, permits, fines and car park rent (file image)
‘This is not least because, when you make parking prohibitively expensive, it’s the whole place that will suffer as people stop going into high streets and spending their money there altogether.
‘Councils are there to make people’s lives easier and better, not hammering them down and stopping places from thriving.’
Howard Cox, founder of the pro-motorist campaign group FairFuelUK, said: ‘These are dumbfounding local authority parking incomes and prove that even under this Tory Government, drivers remain the easiest of cash cows which continue to be fleeced relentlessly.
‘Rishi Sunak’s recent love for the motorist in a political epiphany is blown to pieces by greedy clueless town halls right across the UK.
‘It’s time the milking of drivers was halted and these punitive parking costs massively reduced to urge people to go back into the growing number of deserted high streets which are on their knees and instead spend their hard-earned cash there.’
The AA’s roads policy chief, Jack Cousens, said: ‘Once again, official statistics show that councils have turned parking into a huge cash cow, not just a service to stimulate local trade and support workers and visitors.
Conservative MP Greg Smith, who sits on the Commons transport committee, said some councils are ‘categorically taking the mickey’
‘Hikes in parking charges by councils have contributed and helped to drive more shoppers online. In effect, many local authorities are killing the goose that lays the golden egg.’
A spokesman for the Local Government Association, which represents councils, said: ‘Income raised through parking charges is spent on running parking services.
‘Any surplus is spent on essential transport projects, including fixing the £14 billion road repairs backlog, reducing congestion, tackling poor air quality and supporting local bus services.
‘Motorists can avoid fines by ensuring they observe parking and traffic rules that are only there to help all drivers get around and find parking safely, smoothly and fairly.’
|Local Authority||Profit in 2022/23|
|Amber Valley||not provided|
|Barking & Dagenham||£10,583,000|
|Basingstoke & Deane||£866,000|
|Bath & North East Somerset||£7,343,000|
|Blackburn with Darwen||£386,000|
|Bournemouth, Christchurch & Poole||£13,463,000|
|Brighton & Hove||£30,150,000|
|Castle Point||not provided|
|Cheshire West & Chester||£1,568,000|
|City of London||£10,199,000|
|Dartmoor National Park Authority||£36,000|
|Derbyshire Dales||not provided|
|East Riding of Yorkshire||£762,000|
|Epsom & Ewell||not provided|
|Exmoor National Park Authority||£26,000|
|Folkestone & Hythe||not provided|
|Forest of Dean||-£30,000|
|Hammersmith & Fulham||£34,693,000|
|High Peak||not provided|
|Hinckley & Bosworth||£41,000|
|Isle of Wight||£4,008,000|
|Kensington & Chelsea||£41,074,000|
|King’s Lynn & West Norfolk||£3,343,000|
|Kingston upon Hull||£1,378,000|
|Kingston upon Thames||not provided|
|Lake District National Park||£1,085,000|
|Mid Suffolk||not provided|
|Mid Sussex||not provided|
|Mole Valley||not provided|
|Newark & Sherwood||£699,000|
|Newcastle upon Tyne||£9,527,000|
|North East Lincolnshire||£843,000|
|North Northamptonshire||not provided|
|North Warwickshire||not provided|
|North West Leicestershire||not provided|
|North York Moors National Park Authority||£369,000|
|North Yorkshire||not provided|
|Nuneaton & Bedworth||not provided|
|Oadby & Wigston||£304,000|
|Peak District National Park Authority||£342,000|
|Redcar & Cleveland||not provided|
|Reigate & Banstead||£540,000|
|Richmond upon Thames||not provided|
|Somerset West & Taunton||£2,490,000|
|South Cambridgeshire||not provided|
|South Downs National Park Authority||not provided|
|South Lakeland||not provided|
|South Norfolk||not provided|
|South Oxfordshire||not provided|
|St Albans||not provided|
|Staffordshire Moorlands||not provided|
|Surrey Heath||not provided|
|Tees Valley Combined Authority||-£3,921,000|
|Telford & Wrekin||£52,000|
|Tonbridge & Malling||£1,141,000|
|Vale of White Horse||not provided|
|West Northamptonshire||not provided|
|Windsor & Maidenhead||£5,254,000|
|Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority||£576,000|