Councils cut road safety spending
Councils are making huge profits from parking charges while cutting road safety spending, according to newly published figures.
Local authorities in England took more than £411 million in parking charges in 2011/12 - an increase of almost 15% on 2010/11, said the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM).
Yet at the same time, the amount spent by councils on road safety, education and safe routes to schools decreased by 18% to £105 million, said the IAM.
It added that overall revenue spending on highways and transport reduced by 6% between 2010/11 and 2011/12, while capital expenditure (on construction, tarmac etc) reduced by an estimated 13%.
The IAM said the top council "earners" from parking in 2011/12, all in London, were Westminster - up 8.7% from 2010/11 to £38 million; Kensington and Chelsea - up 31% to £27.5 million; and Camden - up 18% to £25 million.
Outside London the biggest earners were Brighton and Hove - up 18.9% to £13.7 million; Milton Keynes in Buckinghamshire - up 9.3% to £6.5 million; and Newcastle upon Tyne - up 51% to £6.2 million.
IAM chief executive Simon Best said: "Councils are making record-breaking profits from parking, while cutting road safety spending on life-saving services such as education for young drivers, cycle training and safe-routes-to-schools schemes.
"At the same time cuts to road maintenance will mean a backlog of repairs which will simply cost more to fix in the long term."