London councils make £1m a day ‘profit’ from parking

London’s councils make a “profit” of almost £1 million a day from parking charges and fines handed out to the capital’s motorists, figures reveal.

Town halls collected £589 million from parking fees, meters and tickets in the last financial year, and spent £233.8 million on maintaining spaces, paying warden wages and other costs.

That left a surplus of £361.6 million, just under £1 million for every 24 hours in the 2016/17 year, according to a study commissioned by London Councils, the body that represents the capital’s 33 local authorities.

Westminster, which covers the West End, had the biggest surplus of any council, totalling £68.8 million, followed by Kensington and Chelsea (£32.2 million), Camden (£26.8 million), and Hammersmith and Fulham (£22.8 million). The smallest was at Sutton, which had just £264,249 left in the coffers after costs.

Councils are obliged by law to plough back any surplus from charges and enforcement into improving local transport. According to the study, called Benefits of Parking Management in London, almost half the surplus went to subsidise concessionary fares such as the Freedom Pass for the over-60s.

A further £82.3 million went on road resurfacing and repairing potholes, £11.8 million on special transport schemes such as Taxicard for people with restricted mobility, and £1.4 million on providing more parking spaces.

However, the report, written by experts at the Integrated Transport Planning consultancy, also claims that the revenue raised is heavily outweighed by the value to the London economy of keeping roads clear and running freely.

It estimates that the total benefit of the “essential public service” of parking management, which includes yellow lines and other restrictions, is at least £3.58 billion.

Julian Bell, who chairs London Councils’ transport and environment committee, said: “Every pound invested in parking services benefits our city 10 times over.”

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