Council parking 'profits' surge to new high 23 Dec 2013

English local authorities make almost £600 million from parking

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

In 2012-13 councils generated a combined ‘profit’ of £594 million from their day to day, on and off street parking operations.  

This is a 5% increase on the 2011-12 figure of £565 million.

Although not all councils made a large surplus, very few lose money on their parking activities. Just 52 (15%) 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.

Even after allowing for capital charges (interest and depreciation), the combined surplus in 2012-13 was still £460 million.

This is a 12% increase on the £412 million figure for 2011-12. (The full table of all councils is here.)

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

The authority with the largest surplus in 2012-13 was Westminster with £39.7 million. The four biggest earners were all London authorities with only Brighton, Nottingham and Manchester breaking into a top ten dominated by councils in the capital.

 

Surplus before capital charges (£ thousands)

Local authority

2009-10

2010-11

2011-12

2012-13

Ranking by

2012-13 surplus

Westminster

34,558

38,196

41,599

39,705

1

Kensington & Chelsea

21,765

21,130

28,148

30,437

2

Camden

10,460

21,067

24,975

23,531

3

Hammersmith & Fulham

14,071

16,649

19,504

19,395

4

Brighton & Hove UA

11,741

12,744

14,436

16,254

5

Wandsworth

12,189

14,429

16,120

15,887

6

Lambeth

1,542

7,016

5,831

12,004

7

Nottingham City UA

3,271

3,661

3,251

11,791

8

Manchester

2,869

1,914

6,325

8,776

9

Islington

4,991

5,600

10,890

8,216

10

Nottingham’s surplus has grown significantly because of the introduction of the Workplace Parking Levy. If income from the levy – which is ring fenced to be spent on the city’s tram system - were deducted then the surplus would be £4.4 million.

Budgets submitted to the DCLG by local authorities suggest the surplus (before capital charges) for the current financial year will be higher still at £632 million.

Professor Stephen Glaister, director of the RAC Foundation, said:

 “It is a case of déjà vu. Once again English councils have made record amounts from parking. Yet overall spending on local roads has fallen by 9% over the past three years with road safety expenditure down by as much as 20%.

“The government’s recent decision to consult on changes to parking rules and regulations is timely and we have always argued that at the very least all councils should publish an annual parking report to explain how much money is collected from drivers and, just as importantly, where that cash is going.

“It might be that some of the extra ‘profit’ has arisen because councils’ costs for running parking services have been reduced but drivers need to know this.

“There’s no disputing the figures we have looked at. They are the numbers the councils themselves submit to central government. What’s more, council budgets show that the surplus for the current year is set to be higher still.”

ENDS

Contacts:

RAC Foundation:

Philip Gomm – Head of External Communications (only available up to Saturday 21st December 2013)

Philip.gomm@racfoundation.org | 020 7747 3445 | 020 7389 0601 (ISDN) | 07711 776448

Professor Stephen Glaister – Director of the RAC Foundation

Stephen.glaister@racfoundation.org | 07973 206389 | 020 7747 3445

David Leibling – report author

07720 052530

Notes to editors:

The RAC Foundation is a transport policy and research organisation that explores the economic, mobility, safety and environmental issues relating to roads and their users. The Foundation publishes independent and authoritative research with which it promotes informed debate and advocates policy in the interest of the responsible motorist.

The RAC Foundation is a registered charity, number 1002705.

In this context ‘capital charges’ relate to depreciation and interest payments.

At the beginning of December 2013 the government launched a consultation on the reform of local authority parking enforcement:

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/263815/parking-consultation.pdf

This is a link to the list of local authorities and the surpluses/deficits they make from parking:

www.racfoundation.org/assets/rac_foundation/content/downloadables/council_parking_accounts_2012-13_tables.pdf

This is a link to David Leibling’s parking report:

http://www.racfoundation.org/assets/rac_foundation/content/downloadables/council_parking_accounts_2012-13_report_david_leibling.pdf

This is a link to the source data:

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/local-authority-revenue-expenditure-and-financing

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