£2million parking profit just the ticket for council - The Worcester Observer

£2million parking profit just the ticket for council

Worcester Editorial 14th Dec, 2016   0

WORCESTER City Council pocketed a £2million profit from parking charges in the last financial year according to new figures.

Freedom of Information requests by the RAC Foundation revealed a staggering £756 million was raked in by the 353 local authorities in England from their on and off-street parking activities over a 12 month period.

A total of £2,086,000 was collected by Worcester parking chiefs, down from £2.2million the previous year.

The city was top of the local authorities in Worcestershire for profit from parking charges and 90th in the list of 353 English councils.

However, profits from parking charges in the city have actually fallen over the past three years after £2.8million was raked in 2013/14.

The figures are calculated by taking income from parking charges and penalty notices minus running costs and were sourced from the annual returns councils make to the Department for Communities and Local Government.

Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, said: “Parking charges are one of the tools councils use to keep traffic moving whilst also allowing people reasonable and affordable access to high street shops and other facilities.

“The good news is that any profit generated by councils from on-street parking must by law be spent on transport-related activities, and as every motorist knows there’s no shortage of work that needs doing.”

“These numbers might seem eye-wateringly large, but in part they reflect the growing competition for space in many of our towns and cities.

“In 1995 there were only 21.4 million cars on Britain’s roads, today there are 30.7 million,” he added.

The issue of car parking has been used as a political football in the city for a number of years with both Labour and Conservative administrations freezing parking charges in recent years.

In response, a city council spokesman said: “The surplus produced by our car parks is an important part of the funding we use to provide essential services including waste and recycling collections, parks, grounds maintenance, planning, housing, economic development and more.

“Income from our car parks allows us to keep Council Tax bills low.

“Worcester City Council’s car parks provide an important service for the city centre and our local economy, ensuring visitors and residents can park easily and safely to enjoy a visit to the shops and other attractions.

“Use of our car parks has grown in recent years.

“Our prices have barely changed for eight years and are at a similar level to those in neighbouring cities like Cheltenham, Gloucester and Hereford.” he added.

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