Coun­cil makes £10m profit from park­ing

TOWN HALL RAKES IN 3PC MORE CASH FROM IN PRE­VI­OUS 12 MONTHS

Manchester Evening News - - NEWS - By CLAIRE MILLER [email protected]­i­tymir­ror.com @clairemill­eruk

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.

Coun­cils across

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

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