Robert Halfon hits out at parking charges

HARLOW MP Robert Halfon has said the “war on motorists” must stop – as a new report suggests as many as half of English councils plan to put up parking charges.

According to a report by the Local Government Information Unit, both resident’s permits and car parking spaces could ramp up by 45% in certain areas – with new charges for Sunday parking coming into play.

Analysed by the Daily Mail, the report suggests the rising cost of social care is putting pressure on local authorities, many of whom face extreme financial difficulties.

In its report, the Mail suggests some town halls are considering introducing fees for Sunday parking.

Robert Halfon, MP for Harlow, says it’s time councils stopped targeting drivers as a means of balancing the books.

“Whether it is hospital parking charges, or council parking fees, motorists are seen as a cash cow and are being hit by one stealth tax after another,” he said.

Councils in Leicester, Bristol City, Cheltenham, Reading, Dover, Thanet, Flintshire, Bournemouth and Brighton and Hove are among those which the Mail suggests have “quietly announced” their plans for increases.

The thorny issue of parking has already been in the news this year, with an RAC survey revealing that 93% of drivers would back a bill to regulate private parking.

It is reported that English councils captured a £819 million surplus from parking fines, fees and permits during the 2016/17 financial year.

This is money which local government has continually stressed is ploughed straight back into local transport.

But FairFuelUK founder, Howard Cox says: “Our supporters feel that our towns will become urban deserts with the cost of parking becoming more and more an inhibitory factor to keeping town centres viable.

“When will councils recognise that growing their income depends on low-cost and accessible parking, not knee-jerk cash grabs from hard-working motorists?”

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