English councils parking income – budget 2019-2029 Jun 2019

Parking surplus set to rise again

English councils are predicting that, collectively, they will make a £913 million surplus – or profit – from their parking activities in the current financial year, 2019-20.

This is 4% more than the £877 million surplus councils budgeted for 2018-19, the actual outturn figures for which will be published later this year.

However, historically councils have underestimated the money they will make from on- and off-street parking activities – by between 9% and 10% over the past three financial years for which there is outturn data – suggesting the final profit for 2019-20 could actually top a billion pounds for the first time.

The numbers are calculated by taking all parking income – charges, residents’ permits, penalties – and then subtracting the day-to-day running costs of providing parking.

The RAC Foundation’s analysis, carried out by transport consultant David Leibling, is based on the budget figures provided by 343 English councils to the Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government (MHCLG).

Of the 343 councils, 278 reported that they expected to make a profit whilst 65 predicted they would break even, incur a loss or their parking is managed by another authority.

Table: English councils parking operations surplus

£m 2015-16 budget 2015-16 actual

(% above budget) 

2016-17 budget 2016-17 actual

(% above budget)

2017-18 budget 2017-18 actual

(% above budget)

2018-19 budget 2019-20 budget % rise in budget 2019-20 on 2018-19
London 303 332

(10%)

340 379

(11%)

350 406

(16%)

413 446 8%
Rest of England 377 413

(10%)

403 440

(9%)

436 461

(6%)

464 468 1%
England total 680 744

(9%)

743 819

(10%)

786 867

(10%)

877 913 4%