The news blog MyLondon have reported on the continued rise in the profits made by London Councils from car parking. They report that in 2018/19 the profits were £454.4 million. That compares with about £300 million that we reported in 2010 (see https://www.freedomfordrivers.org/_files/ugd/84d4d3_78919c9384614f919b3bd24fe4b29511.pdf ).
Councils are legally not supposed to make profits from on-street parking but that law is widely ignored. However they can from off-street parking –this is one reason why Westminster is the top earning borough in London with profits of £58 million as they own or operate a number of off-street car parks. But other high earning inner London boroughs have no such excuse.
With council budgets under pressure, increasing parking revenue is seen as an easy way to generate more income. Hence the increases in charges being made by such means as introducing emission-based parking charges and extending CPZs (Controlled Parking Zones). For example, Lewisham has the stated intention to have the whole borough covered by CPZs. This is what Councillor Sophie McGeevor said recently on twitter: “Any surplus from parking revenue is completely absorbed by concessionary fares for public transport. This year we’ve committed to roll our borough wide CPZs. Increased income should mean we can reinvest in cycle hangers & public realm. Totally get that cheap safe storage is key”. Clearly she thinks that permit parking charges are a source of income when legally they are only supposed to cover administration and enforcement costs.
Any surplus from parking charges is supposed to be spent on transport provision but it is typically currently used mainly to subsidise the Freedom Pass and other Concessionary Fare Charges that TfL passes onto local boroughs. But why should vehicle owners be paying for public transport fares rather than the general population?
Want to find out how much your local borough is making from parking charges? Use this template letter to do so: https://www.freedomfordrivers.org/Parking-Letter-Information-Template.pdf
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