English council parking profits rise again19 Nov 2018

Surplus up a third in four years

Councils in England have seen their parking ‘profits’ rise by almost a third (32%) in just four years.

In 2017-18, the combined surplus made by the 353 English local authorities was £867 million, up from £658 million in 2013-14.

Total income from both on- and off-street parking activity was £1.66 billion in 2017-18.

Total expenditure was £793 million. Additionally, councils may incur interest payments or depreciation on their capital assets such as car parks, though this is not accounted for in these official figures.

The difference between the two – £867 million – is the surplus or profit.

This is 6% more than the £819 million made in the previous financial year (2016-17). It is also 11% higher than the £782 million surplus that the councils themselves had budgeted for.

Analysis by David Leibling for the RAC Foundation shows that of the 353 councils which made official financial returns to central government, only 39 made a loss from their parking activities.

 £million 2013-14 2014-15 2015-16 2016-17 2017-18 2017-18 budget 2018-19 budget Change 2017-18 on 2016-17
On-street Fees and permits 435 472 483 542 578 7%
Penalties 340 328 338 347 376 8%
Total income 775 800 821 889 954 7%
Expenditure 408 421 407 414 431 4%
Surplus 367 379 414 475 523 10%
Off-street Total income 640 645 670 693 706 2%
Expenditure 349 341 340 349 362 4%
Surplus 291 304 330 344 344
All parking Total income 1,415 1,445 1,491 1582 1660 5%
Expenditure 757 762 747 763 793 4%
  Surplus 658 683 744 819 867 782 885 6%
     
 All England transport Expenditure 4,796 4,537 4,331 4,012 3,997 4,240 4,251 -0.4%
Parking surplus as % of net transport expenditure 14% 15% 17% 20% 22% 18% 21%

 

Once again, the councils with the biggest surpluses were in London.

This is a table of the 25 councils in England with the highest levels of surplus (the full local authority table is linked to at the end of this press release):

 

 £000 Parking operations Surplus
Local authority Type of authority 2013-14 2014-15 2015-16 2016-17 2017-18 Ranking by 2017-18 surplus
Westminster L 51,037 46,426 55,875 73,191 57,582 1
Kensington & Chelsea L 33,512 32,997 34,237 32,174 34,467 2
Wandsworth L 19,692 20,350 21,174 20,506 24,216 3
Hammersmith & Fulham L 22,960 23,787 22,672 23,077 23,817 4
Brighton & Hove UA 18,090 18,642 20,075 21,213 23,420 5
Islington L 10,381 13,732 15,532 19,111 20,514 6
Camden L 24,869 24,468 25,228 26,751 19,599 7
Newham L 7,202 7,327 7,692 8,886 18,977 8
Haringey L 5,700 16,145 14,917 14,635 16,841 9
Hackney L 8,219 10,758 12,920 14,505 15,613 10
City of London L 5,569 5,881 5,264 6,549 14,383 11
Merton L 7,015 7,226 6,681 10,227 12,279 12
Hounslow L 7,814 7,655 7,196 11,972 12,243 13
Lambeth L 7,219 9,683 9,942 11,923 12,143 14
Brent L 8,310 10,506 7,954 10,534 11,870 15
Milton Keynes UA 8,160 9,042 10,757 11,143 11,296 16
Birmingham UA 7,756 9,699 9,816 11,129 11,183 17
Barnet L 7,879 346 6,703 8,643 10,690 18
Tower Hamlets L 8,318 10,038 9,479 9,504 10,591 19
Richmond upon Thames L 7,040 6,328 7,462 8,262 9,815 20
Cornwall UA 8,019 8,693 9,813 9,742 9,744 21
Bristol UA 7,495 6,053 7,696 9,537 9,503 22
Manchester UA 8,020 7,915 8,919 7,751 9,368 23
Newcastle upon Tyne UA 6,296 6,643 7,269 7,465 8,541 24
Leeds UA 6,894 7,213 6,635 7,793 8,425 25

Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, said:

“When totted up council parking income amounts to a multi-million-pound business.

“Our purpose in publishing this analysis is not to suggest the existence of any sharp practice, but to encourage motorists to seek out and read their own local authority’s annual parking report – and ask some pointed questions if their authority doesn’t publish one.

“We think it is important that motorists check for themselves whether their own council’s explanation of the level of charges, penalties and details of how the net income is then spent reflects, as it should, the use of parking controls purely as a tool to manage traffic.”

ENDS

Contacts:

Philip Gomm – Head of External Communications – RAC Foundation

020 7747 3445 | 07711 776448 | philip.gomm@racfoundation.org

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.

All the RAC Foundation’s work is available on its website: www.racfoundation.org

This is a link to the full table of all English local authorities in A-Z order:

https://www.racfoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/English-council-parking-surpluses-2017-18-all-councils-ranked-A-Z.pdf