Parking charges are generating significant sums for local councils' cashflows, according to reports by the RAC. Across the UK, fines, tickets and penalty notices have earned 353 local authorities a combined total of £819m in profits – a growth of 10% from last year.
Important capital boosts
Of this £819m, nearly £5m was made by the Black Country and Staffordshire alone. £4.9m was recouped across councils for Dudley, Sandwell, Walsall, Wolverhampton, South Staffordshire, Stafford, Cannock and Lichfield. This marks an increase of £232,000 from the previous year's sum of £4.7m. The highest total in the region came from Wolverhampton, who collected £1.4m in 2016/17, followed by Lichfield whose profits came in at £1.2m.
The sharp rise is attributed to a "record number of cars and volume of traffic", according to RAC Foundation Director Steve Gooding.
He added that "the silver lining for drivers is that these surpluses must almost exclusively be ploughed back into transport – and, as any motorist will tell you, there is no shortage of work to be done. We welcome the fact that councils are increasingly investing in technology to help make parking easier and less stressful."
The biggest profits across the UK were seen in London: 33 London boroughs generated £379m altogether – 46% of the total across England.
Investing back into services
The amounts collected by local authorities, including from debts and charges such as for parking, are a useful source of revenue for service provision in their area. As the RAC highlighted, often this comes full circle to benefit motorists, since the money contributes to the UK's overall £12bn repair backlog.
This is particularly important after studies by the Asphalt Industry Alliance have found that a fifth of roads across England and Wales are in poor condition – meaning that councils need to make sure their capital streams have adequate financial provision for maintenance.
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