By Daniel Hunter

New official statistics released this week show that councils are continuing to forecast to make £635 million profit from parking charges and fines in 2013 to 2014, Local Government Secretary, Eric Pickles, pointed to these figures as evidence why town hall parking rules need to change.

The figures also show that councils will make £34 million more in net income from parking charges this year than in 2012 to 2013.

The government has scrapped Whitehall rules that previously told councils to hike up parking charges, adopt draconian enforcement and impose arbitrary limits on off-street parking spaces. Ministers are considering what further steps can be taken to ensure that town hall parking policies and practices support local high streets.

Concerns have been raised that town hall parking rules are undermining local high streets and shopping parades. A 2012 survey found that almost 7 in 10 people intentionally avoided shopping areas with high parking prices. Two thirds said they would return to the high street if parking was more affordable. 1 in 5 felt there were not enough spaces available. It also found that 4 out of 5 people pay up to £150 per month for parking.

Local Government Secretary, Eric Pickles, said:

This £635 million municipal parking profit shows why 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.

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