An article this week in The Daily Telegraph highlights that councils made big surpluses from parking fees, 2010-2011: Councils make half a billion pounds profit from parking.
Authorities in England and Wales saw their surplus from parking rise to £511.6 million in 2010-11 from £489.4 million a year earlier, according to an analysis of local authority accounts by the RAC Foundation.
Local authorities were warned by Mike Penning, the road safety minister, last year to stop treating motorists as an easy target to raise funds.
Town halls are supposed to use their powers to control parking to improve traffic flow and prevent gridlock on their streets.
They are prohibited from using these powers to bolster their income. However, many councils seek to get round this by earmarking the cash raised for other transport projects.
The article shows that Guildford Borough Council (Note: Guildford BC manages some parking enforcement for Haslemere town) made a £6.3 million surplus. Waverley Borough Council (which manages Haslemere off-street car parks) made a £2.3 million surplus. Surrey County Council makes a deficit of £1.6mn.
At a public meeting in Haslemere Hall in January 2012, Steve Renshaw, Surrey County Councillor said:
Another consideration is cost-effective enforcement. With regards to enforcement —again people may not fully understand this. This is split into on-street and off-street, and there are different arrangements for different districts across the county. Onstreet enforcement is the responsibility of Surrey County Council across the county, but it has historically devolved this activity to districts and boroughs, and up until a year ago was running at a loss of about half a million pounds. I can come back to some aspects about that later. This was largely due to allocated overheads on the part of the districts and boroughs being passed on to county and partly due to the inefficiency of enforcement without a time ticket, as people get when they get in the off-street parts. As you know, go into any of the car parks here and you get a time ticket. So about a year ago an agreement was reached with some districts and boroughs whereby they would be allowed to keep 35% of any of the income raised from fines etc, but in return they had to accept the risk of making a loss, and would receive no subsidy from Surrey County Council. So currently enforcement does not cost Surrey. In Waverley off-street enforcement was possible — was profitable. In the off-street car parks it’s a good revenue raiser for the Borough. That was retained, but Waverley Borough decided they could not operate the new on-street arrangements profitably, and it was therefore agreed that Guildford Borough Council — who have a much larger operation and hence their overheads can be spread over larger number of personnel — they took this over at Waverley from last April 1st as they thought that would be profitable. However, despite their efficiencies, they are not profitable. They are losing money and if they dedicated more personnel to enforcement in Waverley, they lose even more money.