Brent Council rakes in more than £10m profit from parking fines
PUBLISHED: 09:47 08 December 2015 | UPDATED: 09:47 08 December 2015
Brent Council raked in more than £10 million in profits from parking tickets this year, making it the 11th–highest borough for parking charges in the country.
Figures released by motoring analyst the RAC Foundation show Brent Council cleared a healthy £10.5 million from parking fines after staff and running costs were taken into account in 2014-2015, up from £8.3 million the previous year.
The news comes after 200 residents signed a petition against plans to triple visitor parking charges in Brent from April next year.
Under the plans, which are being opposed by the borough’s Liberal Democrat party, fees for visitor daily parking could increase from £1.50 to £4.50 in controlled parking zones, prompting fears from local business owners the hike could deter customers.
The annual visitor permit will rise by 50 per cent from £110 to £165.
The data showed London councils generated £308 million profits from and on and off-street parking operations in 2014-2015 following a year of increased pressure on budgets to provide front-line services.
Councils across England made a combined profit of £700 million from parking charges in the last year, with London boroughs accounting for 44 per cent of the total.
The RAC Foundation is calling on councils including Brent to publish annual reports including a breakdown of exactly where funds from drivers’ parking fines end up.
Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, said: “The financial sums involved in local authority parking are huge and the overall profits eye-watering. And once again the year-on-year direction of travel is upwards.
“It is unsurprising that London leads the way in making money. Its roads are most congested and the pressure on road space immense.
“The precarious financial state of many councils is a genuine concern, not least when it comes to the risk of a cut in road maintenance spending which will hit every one of us. A funding solution requires national and local government to look beyond the high street parking meter.”
By law any surplus profits made from council parking charges should be earmarked for transport and environment budgets.
Cllr Eleanor Southwood, Brent Council’s cabinet member for parking, said: “It is a myth that councils make a ‘profit’ from parking. In fact, all the income we receive from parking and traffic enforcement is reinvested back into transport budgets.
Our focus is on managing limited parking space, tackling traffic congestion, and trying to bring about positive and sustainable benefits for residents, businesses and our high streets.
“This is why, for example, we are opening up eleven of our car parks for free parking in the run up to Christmas to support local businesses; and are tackling commuter parking in permit areas so that those who live in these areas can find a space to park near their home.”