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Council parking surpluses hit £667 million in England

English councils have made another record surplus from their parking activities.

In 2013-14 councils in England generated a combined ‘profit’ of £667 million from their day to day, on and off street parking operations.  

This is a 12% increase on the 2012-13 amount of £594 million. £296 million (44%) of the overall total was generated by councils in London.

Although not all councils made a large surplus, very few lose money on their parking activities. Just 55 (16%) of the 353 parking authorities in England reported negative numbers.

The figures are calculated by adding up income from parking charges and penalty notices, then deducting running costs.

While some of the increase in surplus is down to rising income, there is also evidence that many councils are cutting operating costs sharply: for England as a whole councils’ operating costs for on-street parking have dropped 10%.

Even after allowing for capital charges (interest and depreciation), the combined surplus in 2013-14 was still £549 million.

This is a 19% increase on the £460 million figure for 2012-13. (A link to the full report with tables of all councils is lower down.)

The data, analysed for the RAC Foundation by transport consultant David Leibling, comes from the statutory annual returns that councils make to the Department for Communities and Local Government.

The authority with the largest surplus in 2013-14 was, once again, Westminster with £51 million. The five biggest earners were all London authorities with only Brighton and Hove, and Nottingham breaking into a top ten dominated by councils in the capital.

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