English council parking profits hit new high 12 Dec 2014

Council parking 'profits' in England reach £667 million

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.

 

£000

Surplus before capital charges

 

Local authority

Class

2010-11

2011-12

2012-13

2013-14

Ranking by 2013-14 surplus

 

 

 

£ thousands

 

 

 

 

 

Westminster

L

38,196

41,599

39,705

51,037

1

 

Kensington & Chelsea

L

21,130

28,148

30,437

33,512

2

 

Camden

L

21,067

24,975

23,531

24,869

3

 

Hammersmith & Fulham

L

16,649

19,504

19,395

22,960

4

 

Wandsworth

L

14,429

16,120

15,887

19,692

5

 

Brighton & Hove UA

UA

12,744

14,436

16,254

18,090

6

 

Nottingham City UA

UA

3,661

3,251

11,791

12,064

7

 

Islington

L

5,600

10,890

8,216

10,381

8

 

Tower Hamlets

L

5,956

5,769

7,000

8,318

9

 

Brent

L

3,926

2,701

2,666

8,310

10

                 

Key: L = London boroughs; MD = Metropolitan districts; SD = Shire districts; UA = Unitary authorities

 

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

“Parking profits seem to be a one way street for councils having risen annually for the last five years. Yet over the same period spending on local roads has fallen about a fifth in real terms.

“We understand the pressures councils are under with their overall income still falling and the level of services they have to provide in such areas as social care rising rapidly.

“One sign that the escalation in parking profits might be coming to an end is that much of this year’s increase comes not from growing income from penalties and charges but cuts in the cost of parking operations. This suggests local authorities are making efficiency savings and should bring some good news to both drivers and council tax payers.

“The bottom line is that parking policy and charges must be about managing traffic not raising revenue.”

ENDS

Contacts:

RAC Foundation:

Philip Gomm – Head of External Communications

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.

This is a link to David Leibling’s parking report with full details for all councils in England:

http://www.racfoundation.org/assets/rac_foundation/content/downloadables/Local_Authority_Parking_Finances_England_2014_David_Leibling_December_2013-14.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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