Council makes £10m profit from parking
TOWN HALL RAKES IN 3PC MORE CASH FROM IN PREVIOUS 12 MONTHS
MANCHESTER council made its biggest profits from providing on and off-street parking in more than a decade in 2018/19.
Its total profit – of £9.7 million – was up by 3 per cent compared to the £9.4m in profit the council made in 2017/18.
The amount raised has tripled from £3.1 million in 2008/09 – when comparable figures began.
The council spent £7.5m on employees and running costs for providing parking in 2018/19.
It raked in £17.2m in income – almost all of it in sales, fees and charges.
Greater Manchester collectively made a £18.0 million profit from parking in 2018/19, up from £16.7m a year before.
Salford, with a net income of £677,000 last year, Stockport, £1.9 m, and Trafford, £1.8m, all also saw record levels of profits last year.
Councils across England made £934.1m in profits from parking in 2018/19, the highest amount since records began in 2008/09.
RAC head of roads policy Nicholas Lyes said: “It will come as little surprise to drivers to see council income from parking charges nudging towards the £1bn mark.
“Our research shows 58 per cent of drivers think general parking costs rose in 2019. Councils have a difficult time juggling between attracting shoppers to their town centres and providing enough parking spaces for visitors, but it is imperative they don’t charge so much that they force shoppers to go to out-of-town retail parks where parking is free. “Considering parking charge surpluses have to be reinvested in parking provision and transport, drivers are right to feel aggrieved when they have to put up with substandard road surfaces in their areas.” Profits were up 7pc from £871.5m in 2016/17, according to the figures from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.
They’ve also almost doubled from £483.4m in 2008/09.
Luke Bosdet, spokesman for the AA’s motoring policy unit, said: “The 93 per cent increase in councils’ parking and enforcement profits over the past 10 years underlines the extent to which local authorities rely on them as an alternative form of tax.
“They argue that, without this money, they couldn’t afford services such as subsidised travel for the elderly and disabled, road improvements and other transport-related schemes. Much of this is expenditure that previously came from the council tax.”
It cost councils £811.8m to provide parking services in 2018/19, with costs generally remaining stable over the past decade.
Income from parking services across England was £1.75bn in 2018/19, including £1.68bn raised from sales, fees and charges.
Income from sales, fees and charges has risen by 6pc year-on-year and by more than a third since 2008/09 – suggesting most of the increase in profits for councils has come from rising sales, fees and charges, as costs remained static.
The Local Government Association said: “Councils are on the side of motorists and shoppers when setting parking policies which aim to make sure that there are spaces available for residents, high streets are kept vibrant and traffic is kept moving. Any income raised through parking charges and fines is spent on running parking services and any surplus is only spent on essential transport projects.”
A parking meter in Manchester city centre