A group of campaigners are trying to encourage local councils to open their staff car parks on weekends to boost trade for local shops. Almost two thirds of those questioned by the Federation of Small Businesses say a lack of parking is harming trade. Robyn Dwyer has the story.
- The existing Council Tax Benefit scheme will end on 31 March 2013.
- A new scheme called Council Tax Support will be introduced from 1st April 2012 and it will be the responsibility of local authorities.
- Councils in England have seen a 10% cut in the funding system, as a result some households may receive less benefit.
- Under the new scheme pensioners will be protected.
The organisation "London Councils" - which represents the boroughs - says charges are determined by the demand for parking spaces.
But critics claim they just add to the burden on already hard-pressed Londoners.
Our Political Correspondent Simon Harris reports:
While many councils are enjoying increased profits from parking, they are spending less elsewhere in the community. The Institute of Advanced Motorists - who collated councils' parking profits - calculate that:
Spending on road safety, education and safe routes to schools fell by 18% to £105m.
Spending on highways and transport fell by 6% between 2010/11 and 2011/12, while expenditure on construction, reduced by an estimated 13%.
A Department for Communities and Local Government report last year estimated that spending on highways and transport will fall by a further 11% over 2012/133.
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.”
The largest increase in profit from parking came from Kingston-Upon Thames, which saw an enormous increase of 320% from 2010/11 - 2011/12.
The council earned £3.53 million last year.
The figures, collated by the Institute of Advanced Motorists, cover both on and off-street parking, including fines and other charges.
Havering saw the second biggest increase - their profits shot up 186%, to £567,000.
And Barking and Dagenham's parking pot was boosted 174%, to £1.57 million.
Westminster Council topped the list making nearly £38 million on parking after expenditure last year. The figure is an annual increase of nearly 9%.
Second highest was Kensington and Chelsea which made £27.5 million - representing a 30% increase on the year before.
Camden was third, earning £25 million in profit from motorists - up 18% on the previous year.
Controversial plans to build a housing estate at Walthamstow Stadium have been approved. The planning application for 294 homes at Walthamstow Stadium was narrowly approved last night following a heated council meeting which lasted three and a half hours.
Councillors who voted for the plans were confronted by angry campaigners at the end of the night.
The application will now be referred to London Mayor Boris Johnson and the Greater London Authority.