Councils cash in on parking charges

Councils have collected £168m more from parking charges compared to five years ago.

A new survey from Confused.com has revealed that these profits have not always been spent on improving roads for motorists.

In fact, the opposite is true, with councils spending £400m less on road improvements than they were five years ago.

Confused.com has found that the money spent by local authorities on roads dropped from £2.8bn in 2013/14, to £2.4bn in 2017/18. By contrast, the amount of money councils receive from parking alone increased from £682m in 2013/14 to £847m in 2017/18.

Further research by Confused.com found that motorists believe parking fine profits should be spent making driving a better experience, with more than half (54%) wanting to see the money from parking fines spent on improving road conditions.

According to the data, local authorities in 101 of 176 counties or areas have increased their net income from parking – 87 of which have reduced their spending on roads at the same time.

And it seems this lack of spending has been recognised by motorists, as more than two fifths (41%) of UK drivers say they have not noticed any improvements to the conditions of roads in their area over the past five years. It is no wonder almost two fifths (37%) of motorists are confused about why more is not being done to improve road conditions given the amount of money local authorities receive in fines. Almost one in two (46%) even go as far as to say councils treat motorists as cash cows.

Amanda Stretton, motoring editor at Confused.com, said, ‘Our interactive map reveals parking charges and fines have put hundreds of millions of pounds into the pockets of councils. While councils are often justified in charging for parking and issuing fines for illegal parking, many motorists are confused about why this money isn’t being re-invested into our roads. Poor road conditions is a major concern for drivers, with roads riddled with potholes and unclear markings, it’s no wonder drivers want councils to be putting more into making these better.

‘Parking and other charges are a huge burden on motorists, when the cost of driving is already very expensive.’