Councils across England should be braced for an economic shock as they look set to miss out on millions in parking fees and charges, according to the AA.
Figures released by the Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government show that local authorities looked set to net more than £885 million in parking fees alone in the year 2020-2021. However, the coronavirus pandemic and the resulting lockdown – as well as the suspension of charges throughout the crisis – mean that councils will not get the income that they had budgeted for while planning for the year in February.
Many councils use the income generated from parking charges to pay for road improvements and repairs, as well as addressing issues with potholes.
Jack Cousens, head of roads policy for the AA says: “If councils weren’t already under significant pressure, they’ll be bracing themselves even more as they see a huge chunk of their income for the year lost.
“For being so dependent on this income stream, councils are now stuck at a crossroad; waive the fees entirely and absorb the financial hit, or reapply them and risk hurting, or worse, losing businesses that bring in business rates and jobs in their towns.
“This loss of revenue should also act as a wakeup call to towns and cities intent on banning drivers from their centres. If they ban cars completely, they need to be prepared to lose a huge chunk of a major income source.”