Britons have hit out at councils raking in millions of pounds from parking charges as they accused them of cynically using motorists as ‘cash cows’ to boost their coffers.
Local authorities in England banked a staggering £1.95billion from parking fees, permits, fines and car park rent in 2022-23 – of which £962million was profit.
Both totals were an all-time high as takings surged above pre-pandemic levels, and drivers accused councils of ripping them off with charges of up to £6 an hour.
The totals do not include the money raked in from clean air zones and low-traffic neighbourhoods, which growing numbers of councils have been rolling out.
One said they drove around for hours just trying to find a space on their own road, while another said high prices were to blame for so many people parking illegally.
In the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, the council has taken £53.7million and enjoyed a profit of £41million from parking charges over the past year.
But motorists have been left infuriated by the amount of money being generated from parking tickets and claimed they could not see where the funds were going.
Locals said there was a major divide in council-run services across exclusive parts of West London and believe local authorities have been ignoring certain areas which are ‘filled with litter’.
It has led some to question why Kensington and Chelsea and Westminster are so expensive to park in, with some tradesman saying how they had to leave work to top up hourly parking payments.
The highest price for council parking in Kensington and Chelsea is £6 per hour. In Westminster, it is £5.80.
Charlie Neil, who lives in Earl’s Court, said the prices were now forcing him to take public transport.
The 54-year-old, who works in property, said the split in the amount of council money going into an area means he has dissuaded clients from buying properties in Kensington and Chelsea.
‘When I park, 100 per cent the price has gone up’, he said. ‘I live on the West Cromwell Road and I think it’s £5 an hour (the actual figure is £4.70).