Parking charges raised £4m for council last year
STOCKPORT council has earned more than £4m over the past year from the ‘stealth tax’ of parking charges.
Parking services in Stockport raised £4.2m in revenue in 2017 to 2018, according to Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government data. Most of this came from council-run car parks, which made £3.1m in the past year.
Drivers paid the local authority a further £1.1m in on-street parking charges, such as pay and display parking, residents’ permits and parking tickets. More than half of the income from on-street parking was raised through penalty charges for illegal parking.
Overall, drivers in Stockport paid an average of £12 per year in parking charges.
The AA claims that parking charges are a ‘cash cow’ for local authorities and a stealth tax paid by drivers.
Coun Sheila Bailey insists that parking charges in Stockport are ‘reasonable’, however.
She added: “They range from 20p to 90p an hour and ensure our car parks are well used by visitors and shoppers alike.
“Funds raised from parking tariffs support the service. If any surplus revenue is raised, this is used for the upkeep and maintenance of the car parks and the borough’s road network.
“To place the £4.2m income raised from parking fees into context, last year the council invested £65m in improving the borough’s road and transport infrastructure. Penalty Charge Notices are issued to vehicles parking illegally to enhance the safety of other road users and to ensure a consistent application of parking tariffs.”
Jack Cousens, AA head of roads policy, said: “At a time of squeezed local authority budgets, drivers are not surprised to see that they are the cash cow council bosses turn to.
“Some councils receive millions of pounds worth of parking charges every year and still continue to increase their prices. The cost of parking should cover the cost of providing the service, not become a stealth tax
“With the continued rise of online shopping, there may come a point where drivers forgo the high street entirely.
The Federation of Small Businesses’ national chairman Mike Cherry agreed, saying: “For small businesses to thrive, customers should not be deterred with high car parking charges which put the future of our high streets in jeopardy.”
●●Coun Sheila Bailey