Councils To Miss Out On Parking Windfall

Thu 9th Jul 2020

The coronavirus lockdown has had a knock-on effect for council coffers in the UK after lucrative car parking fees were a victim of fewer cars on the roads.

Local authorities could have been expected to collect a total of £885 million in parking fees in 2020, but that cash cow has taken a huge hit with many councils missing out due to the suspension of parking charges during lockdown, and a lack of vehicles parking up full-stop.

Councils in the rich London boroughs have been hardest hit, with Westminster expecting to lose in the region of £143m on lost parking fee income. And though councils will want to claw back some of the parking fees as quickly as possible as lockdown eases, many are asking authorities to refrain from reintroducing fees as it could deter the British public from returning to the high street.

“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,” said Jack Cousens, head of roads policy at the AA.

“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 wake-up 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.”