South Tyneside Council made almost £1million ‘profit’ on parking last year, new figures reveal.
Figures from the RAC Foundation show the council’s parking operation had a surplus of £977,000 in the financial year 2017-18, up from £614,000 the previous year.
Car parking charges are not set with the aim of making a profit. Surplus money from parking revenue is re-invested back into highways and road safety as well as to improve and secure our car parks.South Tyneside Council spokesman
The foundation says the 353 local authorities in England have seen their parking profits rise by almost a third in just four years.
In 2017-18, the combined surplus was £867 million, up from £658 million in 2013-14.
Total income from both on- and off-street parking activity was £1.66 billion in 2017-18, while total expenditure was £793million.
Analysis by the RAC Foundation shows that of the 353 councils which made official financial returns to central government, only 39 made a loss from their parking activities.
A South Tyneside Council spokesman said: “Our parking charges are among the lowest in Tyne and Wear.
“Car parking charges are not set with the aim of making a profit. Surplus money from parking revenue is re-invested back into highways and road safety as well as to improve and secure our car parks.
“The fact that this surplus has been achieved without increasing parking charges is an endorsement of our regeneration efforts to attract increasing numbers of people to our towns.
“Our ‘free after three’ initiative will run again this year throughout December, allowing shoppers to park in council-owned car parks in South Shields town centre for free after 3pm, and all day on Sundays.
“With regards to Penalty Charge Notices for parking contraventions, South Tyneside Council aims to increase compliance with parking restrictions through clear, well-designed, legal and enforced parking controls .
“Vehicle owners have the right to appeal if they feel the ticket has been wrongly issued and details on how to do so can be found on the reverse of the Penalty Charge Notice.”
Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, said: “When totted up council parking income amounts to a multi-million-pound business.
“Our purpose in publishing this analysis is not to suggest the existence of any sharp practice, but to encourage motorists to seek out and read their own local authority’s annual parking report - and ask some pointed questions if their authority doesn’t publish one.
“We think it is important that motorists check for themselves whether their own council’s explanation of the level of charges, penalties and details of how the net income is then spent reflects, as it should, the use of parking controls purely as a tool to manage traffic.”