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Tory council parking fines blasted

Residents in Tory-controlled boroughs and councils are being clobbered with record parking charges and fines, Labour has claimed.

The Opposition said the Conservatives had failed to tackle the rising bill despite Communities Secretary Eric Pickles labelling the charges a "shopping tax".

Labour said freedom of information requests, responded to by 214 of 326 English councils, suggested the total bill reached £1.38 billion in 2013/14, up from £1.32 billion the year before.

Based on the data received, Labour said the average charge and fine bill per resident in a Tory authority was £31.69, 41% more than the average Labour council figure of £22.50.

In London, Tory boroughs received an average £96.23 per resident and Labour authorities £46.42.

Shadow communities secretary Hilary Benn said: "David Cameron and Eric Pickles claimed they would bring parking charges and fines down but they have completely failed.

"Our research reveals it is Tory councils that are making the most money from charges and fines - once again their promises have proved to be nothing but hot air."

Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, said: "These figures show how town halls are committing daylight robbery by ripping off drivers with exorbitant parking charges and unfair parking fines.

"The recent growth in fines is coming from the industrial use of CCTV spy cars allowed under laws introduced by Labour. This is why we have introduced a law before Parliament to stop these snoopers, as part of a package of measures to rein in the town hall parking bullies and protect local shops.

"The Labour government told councils to hike parking charges - by contrast, Conservatives in Government are standing up for shoppers and local firms."

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