Councils are set to lose millions in parking fees and charges as a result of lockdown, prompting some difficult decisions ahead.
New figures released by the Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government show that local authorities were anticipating to bank more than £885m in parking fees alone for 2020/21.
But the AA is warning that lockdown and the suspension of parking charges throughout the coronavirus crisis period will see councils lose out.
With many councils using parking charge income to pay for road improvements and pothole repairs, we could see some reapplying the charge as quickly as possible. However, as local high streets start to re-open, many independent retailers are asking councils to keep parking free so they have a better chance of recovery.
Jack Cousens, head of roads policy for the AA, said: “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.
“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 wakeup 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.”