Three south west London boroughs among top five councils with highest parking profits in England


The three councils’ surplus is £64 million in total.


By SWLondoner staff

Three south west London borough councils have a total of £64 million of surplus from parking charges and are among the top five highest nationally.

The RAC Foundation survey showed Kensington and Chelsea was the second highest with a surplus of £28.1 million, Hammersmith and Fulham fourth with £19.5 million and Wandsworth fifth with £16.1 million, according to figures for last year.

London boroughs overall made £218 million of profit from parking last year, with Westminster racking up the highest total of £38 million.

The figures, produced from the returns councils are required to give the Department for Communities and Local Government, are based on-street and off-street parking charges and parking penalties.

The running costs are deducted from the totals producing the surplus or defeceit amounts.

 “For many local authorities, parking charges are a nice little earner, especially in the Capital,” said Professor Stephen Glaister, director of the RAC Foundation.

“The bottom line is that hundreds of millions of pounds are being contributed annually to council coffers through parking charges and the drivers who are paying them have a reasonable expectation to see the cash spent on improving the roads.”

He added:  “In fact it is enshrined in law – as underlined by the Barnet case last week – that profits gained from on street charges and penalties must be ploughed back into a very limited number of things including maintaining the roads.”

Last week Justice Lang decided Barnet Council acted unlawfully in increasing parking charges to aid other road transport expenditure and reduce the need to raise income from other sources like council tax.

Hammersmith and Fulham Council’s 2011-12 surplus was a 39% increase from the 2009-10 figure but the council maintains it is not making a profit.

Cllr Victoria Brocklebank-Fowler, cabinet member for transport and technical services, said: “Any surplus on the parking account goes back into funding such things as free travel for older and disabled residents, and into maintaining our roads.”

Kensington and Chelsea’s surplus has increased by 29% and Wandsworth by 32% since 2009.

Professor Glaister added: “Not all authorities make big sums. Several run a current account deficit and indeed of those with surpluses many will see the money vanish when capital expenditure is taken into account.”

In 2011-12 councils across England had a total current account surplus of £565 million which is a £54 million increase on the figures from 2010-11.

London dominated the ten councils with the highest profits with Camden, Islington, Newham and Hounslow joining Westminster, Kensington and Chelsea, Hammersmith and Fulham and Wandsworth.

Brighton and Hove and Cornwall were the only authorities outside of London to break into the top ten.

Photo courtesy of adambowie, with thanks.

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