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The AA has hit out at councils who use parking charges to bring in extra cash, calling it "no surprise" the four authorities making the most money are in London.
The care insurer's President Edmund King blamed CCTV for helping some councils "ramp up" parking charges.
According to the RAC, the 10 councils making the most profit from parking charges are:
- 1. Westminster, £39.70 million
- 2. Kensington & Chelsea, west London, £30.44 million
- 3. Camden, north London, £23.,53 million
- 4. Hammersmith & Fulham, west London, £19,39 million
- 5. Brighton & Hove, £16.25 million
- 6, Wandsworth, south London, £15.89 million
- 7. Lambeth, south London, £12.00 million
- 8, Nottingham City, £11,79 million
- 9. Manchester, £8,78 million
- 10. Islington, north London, £8.21 million
Councils do not make a profit out of car parking fees as every penny raised from motorists has to go back into "transport related things" like road maintenance and free bus passes, a local councillor told Daybreak.
Peter Fleming, who is also a spokesman for the Local Government Association, hit out at reports which said councils raked in almost £600m from parking charges over the last year.
"The RAC report calls is a profit. Well of course, councils do not make a profit. Councils use that money to provide services that we all use."
He continued: "What councils have to do, by law, is any money they raise by street parking...has to be spent on transport related things."
Councils raked in the cash last year thanks to parking charges, according the RAC Foundation. Local authorities across England generated a combined profit of £594 million from their on and off-street parking operations throughout 2012/13, the foundation said.
Quoting data from the department of communities and local government, the RAC said there was a 5% increase of the surplus of £565 million from the previous year. Only 52 of the 353 councils in England reported a deficit in 2012/13.
RAC Foundation director Professor Stephen Glaister said: "There's no disputing the figures we have looked at. They are the numbers the councils themselves submit to central government.
He added: "What's more, council budgets show that the surplus for the current year is set to be higher."