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%|
|All parking||Total income||1,415||1,445||1,491||1582||1660||5%|
|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|
|Kensington & Chelsea||L||33,512||32,997||34,237||32,174||34,467||2|
|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|
|City of London||L||5,569||5,881||5,264||6,549||14,383||11|
|Richmond upon Thames||L||7,040||6,328||7,462||8,262||9,815||20|
|Newcastle upon Tyne||UA||6,296||6,643||7,269||7,465||8,541||24|
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.”
Philip Gomm – Head of External Communications – RAC Foundation
020 7747 3445 | 07711 776448 | [email protected]
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: