Parking machines pocket £650,000 in over payments
HUNDREDS of thousands of pounds have gone into council coffers from pay-and-display parking machines that do not give any change.
About £650,000 in overpayments was collected in three years by six councils across Wales, it has been revealed.
In Rhondda Cynon Taf alone, the authority collected £142,122 in overpayments out of £2.9m in parking charges between 21014-17 – the highest proportion in Wales.
Elsewhere in South Wales, Caerphilly received £74,000 out of £1.8m, while Merthyr Tydfil recorded £52,000.
The TaxPayers’ Alliance branded the move a stealth tax and said motorists felt they had paid “more than enough tax”, but councils said all the cash was being ploughed into the transport budget.
Lee Canning, TaxPayers’ Alliance co-ordinator in Wales, said: “Not all of that money is going to go back into car parks and road maintenance because it is not statutory to do so.
“I think it’s important that all the money made in this way is reinvested in improving car parks.”
Councils have defended the decision to have parking machines that don’t give out change, as they claim it would be more expensive to have ones that do.
They said they were instead looking at choosing alternative methods, including online and telephone payments.
But Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, said the change would not help “the significant number of people – not least elderly motorists – who still don’t own a mobile”. Drivers might reasonably ask whether this isn’t more of a money-spinner than a means of managing traffic for some councils,” he added.
In a Freedom of Information request, 12 of the 22 councils were unable to provide figures about parking overpayments. Three said they did not operate meters. Newport council did not respond.
A spokesman for RCT council said: “Any income generated by the council’s parking charges is reinvested back into the service area – whether this is to fund the service or for use in transportation projects and highway schemes.”
‘Not all of that money is going back into car parks and road maintenance’ Lee Canning, TaxPayers’ Alliance co-ordinator in Wales
Thousands of pounds have been collected by parking machines that don’t give change