Motorists could be hit with a massive hike in parking fees of up to 230 per cent from next month – with councils set to rake in one billion pounds over the next year.
Many local authorities across the UK are to raise the cost for parking in town centres while eliminating free parking areas.
The findings were made by the RAC Foundation, whose research revealed that councils were having to put up parking prices as a result of government budget cuts, as well as trying to decrease congestion and pollution levels.
Brighton, Cambridge and Nottingham were just some of the councils found to be bumping up parking prices.
Reading alone expects to raise an extra £1m in the next year from car parking.
Steve Gooding, RAC Foundation spokesman, said: “With sums this large in play, the question must be whether they are actually helping … or whether it feels more like motorists being targeted to help increasingly cash-strapped councils balance their books.”
Councils are set to claim an estimated £885m from parking fees by the end of this financial year, while during 2019-2020 this is expected to increase to £1bn.
However, Martin Tett, transport spokesman for the Local Government Association, said: “They have to strike a balance when setting parking policy, both on street and off street, to make sure that there are spaces available for residents, high streets are kept vibrant and traffic is kept moving.
“Any income raised through on-street parking charges is spent on running parking services and any surplus is only spent on essential transport projects, such as tackling our national £9bn roads repair backlog and other transport projects that benefit high streets and local economies.”