The cash surplus of Hackney Council parking charges soared by over 400 per cent to £5.9m in 2012, according to figures published last week by a motoring charity.
Data collected by the RAC Foundation, released on August 1, indicates between 2009-2011 Hackney Council’s parking charges cash surplus had increased by 418 per cent, rising from £1.1m in 2009/10 to £5.9m in 2011/12.
Neighbouring Tower Hamlets had an 18 per cent rise taking the cash surplus from £4.9m to £5.8m during the same period.
Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles attacked the increasing amounts councils are pocketing from parking charges and fines, declaring that town hall parking rules needed to change.
Pickles said: “We need to review and rein in unfair town hall parking rules.
“This government has scrapped the last administration’s Whitehall rules, which told councils to hike up parking charges and adopt aggressive parking enforcement.
“But councils aren’t listening, and local shops and hard-working families are suffering as a result.
“The law is clear that parking is not a tax or cash cow for town hall officers.”
According to the Department for Communities and Local Government, concerns have been raised that town hall parking rules are undermining local high streets and shopping parades.
A 2012 survey by price comparison website Confused.com found that almost seven in 10 people intentionally avoided shopping areas with high parking prices and two thirds said they would return to the high street if parking was affordable.
Responding to the parking income statistics published by the government and the RAC Foundation last week, Peter Box, Chairman of the Local Government Association’s Economy and Transport Board, said: “Parking revenue is spent on paying for parking services.
“Any money left over goes towards transport services like filling potholes, concessionary travel, park and rides, street lights and road improvement projects.
“Many councils have to subsidise parking services as the cost is not covered by charges.
“Parking charges and fines help councils keep traffic flowing and pedestrians and motorists safe.
“They also help keep the roads clear for emergency services and business deliveries, and ensure that people can park near their homes or local shops.”
Government forecasts predict many councils will make increased parking charges cash surpluses in 2013 to 2014.
Following publication of this article, Hackney Council responded to our request for comment on Thursday, August 8:
Councillor Feryal Demirci, Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods, said: “Figures provided by the RAC Foundation for parking surplus present an inaccurate picture of how parking is managed in Hackney.