Councils in England generated close to £1bn from parking during the past financial year, new research has found.
Details from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities analysed by the AA found that parking income during the 2022 to 2023 financial year exceeded pre-pandemic levels and generated a profit of £962.3m.
It comprised £673.1m from surplus on-street parking and £289.2m surplus from off-street parking such as car parks and parking areas.
Jack Cousens, the AA’s head of roads policy, said: ‘Once again, official statistics show that councils have turned parking into a huge cash cow, not just a service to stimulate local trade and support workers and visitors.’
In contrast, the previous financial year – during which lockdown rules remained in force – saw profits stand at £317.6m.
In 2018-2019, councils in England generated £936.1m in profit, comprising £572.5m from on-street parking and £363.6m from their car parks. Councils in London generated £551.3m from on-street parking alone.
But there was a near-£75m – or 20% crash – in the surplus from car parks during 2022-23, which Cousens said ‘must be particularly worrying for cash-strapped councils’.
He added: ‘While the Covid fallout, such as people working from home, and the economic downturn are factors in the decline, hikes in parking charges by councils have contributed and helped to drive more shoppers online.
‘In effect, many local authorities are killing the goose that lays the golden egg.’
A separate survey of 2,000 people conducted by Close Brothers Motor Finance found that parking charges were among some of the top concerns of motorists, alongside the introduction of the wider Ulez area and rising fuel prices.
Main picture via PA Images