Park­ing ma­chines pocket £650,000 in over pay­ments

Cynon Valley - - YOUR NEWS - MARK SMITH mark.smith@waleson­line.co.uk

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

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