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West Country parking charges - £189 a minute!

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: January 14, 2013

Parking Meter

Parking Meter

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Westcountry councils earned £189 a minute on parking in a year when spending on road maintenance fell, new figures have revealed.

Income from pay and display tickets, parking permits and fines was in excess of £41 million last year in the South West – actually a drop of 14% from the previous year.

Authorities in the region have been accused of treating drivers as ‘cash cows’, while one council pledged to increase its fees for parking to make the most of the income.

The total revenue from parking charges across the South West works out as the equivalent to £189 per-minute at a council car park during tariff hours of 8am to 6pm, seven days a week including bank holidays.

Motorists in Devon handed-out more than £14m in parking charges in 2012, and those in Cornwall paid-out almost £5.7m, according to the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM). Exeter City Council topped the list of authorities in Devon, receiving £3.1m from parking, up 38% from the previous year.

But the Labour-led authority still planned to increase charges in some car parks following a 27% funding cut over the past four years.

Rachel Sutton, city councillor responsible for transport, said: “Putting up car parking charges is never going to be a popular move. We need to, like all businesses, make our assets work. Our funding from the Government is steadily declining. And because we own our car parks, that income helps us to keep council tax low for Exeter residents.”

Exeter Chamber of Commerce, the leading business organisation in the city, expressed “concerns” about the council’s move which would come into effect on January 21. Derek Phillips, chamber vice president said: “We will be raising our concerns at our regular quarterly meeting with the City Council on Monday evening.”

In England councils made over £411m in parking charges last year – an increase of almost 15% since 2011.

Matthew Sinclair, chief executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: “This massive rise in parking charges over the last year suggests that councils are using already hard-pressed motorists as a cash cow.

“What’s more, these hikes in parking charges are likely to have discouraged people from driving into town centres to go shopping, meaning that high street businesses suffer too.”

IAM chief executive Simon Best said: “Councils are making record-breaking profits from parking, while cutting road safety spending on life-saving services such as education for young drivers, cycle training, and safe routes to schools schemes. Cuts to road maintenance will mean a backlog of repairs which will cost more n the long term.”

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  • Bleach  |  January 15 2013, 10:19AM

    ' IAM chief executive Simon Best said: "Councils are making record-breaking profits from parking, while cutting road safety spending on life-saving services such as education for young drivers, cycle training, and safe routes to schools schemes. Cuts to road maintenance will mean a backlog of repairs which will cost more n the long term." ' I don't see how this can be. Councils are prevented by law from using parking income for anything but road infrastructure. And "record breaking profits"? Councils don't make profits, all income goes back into the local infrastructure. Local government doesn't have a use for 'profits', it can't buy a new car or a bigger house, whatever it makes benefits the local populace. Money made on parking is money that doesn't have to be extracted by other local taxes. Parking fees go back to the roads and this seems fair to me; if I don't use a car why should I pay for repairing roads? Of course, if you want to talk about local government spending inefficiency, then that's another matter altogether but don't cloud the issue with incorrect facts.

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  • nickthompson  |  January 14 2013, 8:17PM

    UPDATE British taxpayers could lose out on millions of pounds if super-rich bankers press ahead with a controversial plan to delay their bonuses until after the 50p tax rate is scrapped.

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  • mikelister66  |  January 14 2013, 1:38PM

    @Sinjis_Things looks like someone needs to learn some basic reading skills. The article states that it based on tariff charging times of between 8am and 6pm. 10 hours a day for 365 days a year equals 3,650 hours or 219,000 minutes. Divide £41 million (as stated in the article) by that amount and you get roughly £189. You'll also notice that the article says the South West generates £41 million in revenue, not Devon and Cornwall. The South West probably includes Somerset and Dorset too. My only conclusion is that you are more worried about making the WMN look stupid than reading articles properly and checking your facts.

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  • Sinjis_Things  |  January 14 2013, 1:05PM

    £189 a minute provides an annual income of £99,338,400 per year. The article then says that motorists in Devon paid 14 million, Cornwall 5.7 million which makes 19.7 million which leaves 79 million excess. My only conclusion is that someone at the WMN needs to learn about basic arithmetic or, nearer the truth, stop writing fictional articles.

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  • nickthompson  |  January 14 2013, 11:08AM

    GREED HAS NO BOUNDS Britain's army of bankers will re-ignite public fury over lavish pay rewards as staff at Goldman Sachs are expected to reward themselves £8.3 billion in bonuses on Wednesday. The American investment bank, which employs 5,500 staff in the UK, will be the first to unveil its telephone number-sized rewards – an average of £250,000 a person – as part of the latest round of bonus updates. The increase, up from £230,000 last year, comes as British families are still struggling to make ends meet five years after banks brought the economy to the brink of meltdown.------­----------MEANW­HILE-----------­--Calls to grant payouts of up to £33,000 to every MP who leaves parliament - even if it is their own decision to stand down - has gained cross party support. Resettlement payouts, which are paid in addition to pension entitlement, are currently awarded to those who lose their seats at an election - with the first £30,000 tax free.----------­-------All in it together LOL,come the revolution.

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