MP reveals Swale Borough Council made over £1 million profit from car parking.
Gordon Henderson has welcomed new common-sense measures to make sure drivers are treated more fairly when parking in Swale, so that more people are encouraged to visit and support our local small businesses.
The measures which include, a 10 minute grace period, Banning CCTV ‘spy cars’ and Stopping drivers being fined when parking meters are not working are likely to be welcomed.
Gordon Henderson commented:
‘I get lots of complaints about the lack of common sense shown by some traffic wardens and the strict way in which parking rules are enforced. I have had a case where a mother was a couple of minutes late getting back to her car because of a problem with her child, only to find she had received a ticket.
‘That is a nonsense, which is why I am delighted that the Government is introducing new common sense changes to make it easier for people to park in Swale.
However looking more closely at other measures such as “Reinforcing the law that parking cannot be used by councils to generate revenue to use to fund general council spending” will almost certainly be misconstrued by many as meaning that Councils can no longer profit from car parking.
Gordon Henderson explained:
“Official figures show that Swale Borough Council received £815,000 in surplus revenue from parking charges and £202,000 in parking fines in 2013/14.”
“As far as I am aware local authorities are able to use car parking revenue to fund anything they choose and I do not think there is any intention in Government to change that situation.”
Confused, well I certainly was, so I contact Swale Borough Council and asked the press office who explained that
“Surplus from parking enforcement (parking tickets) can only be used for traffic/highways schemes which is already the case. Surplus from parking (pay and displays etc) forms part of our overall income budget which is used to support the provision of a number of key services. This reduces our net budget requirement and therefore the level of Council Tax.”
The level of profit made from car parking is certainly going to come as a surprise to many and whilst it is some good news here, the necessity for the Council to view car parking as a business vs the loss of business as a direct result is a debate that will long continue.
It will also come as a surprise that there was already a 5 minute grace period in effect, did anyone let the traffic wardens know?