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Coronavirus affects Council parking profits

Councils in England recorded a 4.6% reduction in profits from parking in 2019-20, according to figures obtained by the RAC Foundations.

Local authorities made a combined profit of £891 million from parking last year, a reduction on the £934m made in 2018-19.

Between them these 338 local authorities in England had a total income of £1.746 billion from their on- and off-street parking operations in 2019-20, the same amount as in 2018-19.

The amount Councils spent on running their parking was £854 million, up on the £812 million in the previous year. This expenditure does not include interest payments or depreciation on their capital assets such as car parks as these figures are not accounted for in the official data.

Not all councils made large profits, but only 35 of the 338 reported a loss.

Summary table of English council parking accounts for 2019-20 (£ millions):

   

2018-19

2019-20

% change 2019-20 on

2018-19

On-street

Parking

Income

1,012

1,024

1.2

Expenditure

439

458

4.2

Surplus

573

566

-1.2

Off-street

parking

Income

734

722

-1.6

Expenditure

372

397

6.5

Surplus

362

326

-10.0

All parking

Income

1,746

1,746

0.0

Expenditure

812

854

5.2

Surplus

934

891

-4.6

 

As seen in previous years those councils with the largest surplus (profit) tended to be in London, with Westminster council topping the list with a surplus of £69.6 million.

Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, said: “Parking management is quite a money-spinner for some local authorities, and nationally it is a big business with total income of more than £1.7bn. The surplus for 2019-20 is down a little on the year before which may in part reflect the impact of the first Covid lockdown which saw traffic levels plummet at the end of last March.

“The dip is likely to be much deeper for the current financial year given the range of restrictions over the past 12 months and the government’s current plea that we should all stay at home if we can.

“Going forward there are likely to be many councils who are actually looking to cut parking charges as a way of encouraging more people to visit their High Streets which are fighting for survival.”

Top 30 English councils by level of parking surplus in 2019-20 (£ millions):

Council

2018-19

2019-20

% change

Westminster

69.2

69.6

0.6

Kensington & Chelsea

37.3

38.8

4.0

Camden

26.0

29.0

11.6

Wandsworth

26.3

28.4

7.7

Islington

23.2

26.6

14.8

Hammersmith & Fulham

26.1

25.5

-2.0

Brighton & Hove

26.0

24.8

-4.8

Haringey

17.6

19.7

11.7

Lambeth

17.0

16.7

-1.9

Nottingham

13.3

16.4

23.7

Hackney

15.5

15.5

0.0

Birmingham

13.6

14.9

9.5

Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole

N/A

13.9

N/A

Brent

11.0

12.5

13.8

Croydon

10.6

12.5

17.7

Tower Hamlets

11.7

12.3

5.0

Merton

12.2

12.2

0.4

Barnet

13.7

12.2

-10.8

Bristol

10.4

11.5

9.8

City of London

13.9

10.7

-23.1

Milton Keynes

12.1

10.5

-13.0

Newham

14.3

9.9

-30.5

Waltham Forest

9.5

9.1

-4.0

Manchester

9.7

8.8

-9.4

Cornwall

9.7

8.7

-10.5

Newcastle upon Tyne

8.8

8.6

-1.9

Richmond upon Thames

8.6

8.5

-1.0

Harrow

8.5

7.8

-7.5

Hounslow

13.0

7.8

-40.3

Bath & North East Somerset

7.3

7.6

4.3

 

The full report into Council parking income and expenditure can be viewed here: https://www.racfoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/English-councils-parking-report-2019-20-final.pdf

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