Local Councils have accumulated record profits from parking fees and fines, with motorists in Yorkshire footing a £33.2million pounds bill in the last year.
A new report published today by motoring firm RAC shows that charges and penalties paid in the region amount to almost five per cent of the total £693m profits generated by local authorities nationally - the biggest ever total and a four per cent rise on 2013/14.
Bulging profits come as local councils remain under intense pressure to balance their accounts in the face of substantial grant funding cuts from Whitehall.
Describing as “eye-watering” the overall profits generated by local authority parking, Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, said: “The legal position is that parking charges are to be used as a tool for managing traffic. But with local government budgets under ever-greater pressure the temptation to see them as a fundraiser must be intense.
“The precarious financial state of many councils is a genuine concern, not least when it comes to the risk of a cut in road maintenance spending which will hit every one of us. A funding solution requires national and local government to look beyond the High Street parking meter.”
The RAC’s analysis is based on figures returned to the Department for Communities and Local Government by local councils. The figures were calculated by taking income from parking charges and penalty notices, then deducting running costs.
Parking profits from local councils in London contributed the most (44 per cent) to the national surplus and in Yorkshire, Leeds City Council recorded the biggest profit, some £7.2m, compared to £6.8m the year before.
Profits were next highest in the region in York (£5.5m), Scarborough (£3.5m), Sheffield (£2.5m) and Harrogate (£2.1m), with none of the area’s local authorities among the 57 councils that reported negative numbers.
Figures for other councils were: Kirklees with £1.8m, Calderdale with £889,000 and Wakefield with £896,000.
The overall profit rise is accounted for by increased parking income and not reduced running costs, the RAC said.