Hounslow Council Reduces Income From Parking 'Surplus'

But still remains in top twenty highest earners in England

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Hounslow Council reduced its Parking Surplus from day to day on-street and off-street parking operations in the year 2014/15, according to a new report from the RAC Foundation.

According to the report, Hounslow has gone from a £7.8 m surplus in 2013/14 to to £7.7 m in 2014/15.

This puts Hounslow well behind neighbouring Hammersmith & Fulham's surplus of £23.8 million- which made it the fourth highest earning local authority both in London and in the rest of the country, behind Westminster, Kensington and Chelsea and Camden.

The figures are calculated by taking income from parking charges and penalty notices, then deducting running costs.

When a parking profit is made the law states that, essentially, the money can only be spent on transport and environment projects. The RAC now wants councils to say where the surplus money ends up.

The top twenty table shows Hounslow ranked eighteenth out of twenty.

In 2014/15 councils in England generated a combined ‘profit’ of £693 million from their day to day, on and off street parking operations, a 4% increase on the 2013/14 amount of £667 million, nearly half of this generated by councils in London.

Merton Council plans to increase the profit it makes on its parking activities next year by more than almost any other council in England.

Only Westminster council, of all 353 councils across the country, plans a bigger rise in its budget for the surplus it makes on its parking activities from 2014-15 to 2015-16.

Merton has budgeted for a surplus of £10.2 million in 2015-16, a rise of £3m from the actual surplus of £7.2 million in 2014-15. Westminster plans a £4m rise from £46.4 million to £50.5 million.

Although not all councils made a large surplus, few lost money on their parking activities. Just 57 (16%) of the 353 local authorities in England reported negative numbers.

The data, analysed for the RAC Foundation by transport consultant David Leibling, comes from the statutory annual returns that councils make to the Department for Communities and Local Government.

The authority with the largest surplus (£46.4 million) remained Westminster though this was down 9% on the previous year. The five biggest earners were all London authorities with only Brighton & Hove, and Nottingham breaking into a top ten still dominated by councils in the capital.

Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation said it was not surprising that London, with its congested roads, and immense pressure on road space, led the way.

The precarious financial state of many councils was a genuine concern,not least when it came to the risk of a cut in road mainteance spending which would hit everyone, he said.

December 14, 2015

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