The Sunday Times reports (£) on councils increasing parking charges to avoid cutting spending. At least the Brighton and Hove increases represent a principled stance with its Green administration with its anti motorist ideology. The City of Westminster has a genuine problem of congestion in the evenings – although they are thinking again about what to do about it after a strong opposition from the Evening Standard from their previous proposals for parking restrictions.
But for most of the councils it looks suspiciously like a revenue raising ploy. The report says "39 cities in Britain are introducing tougher parking controls in the form of higher charges, extended hours or more double yellow lines." Those that have scrapped, or are scrapping, free Sunday parking include Birmingham, Manchester, Oxford, Stoke-on-Trent, Chichester, Nottingham, Salford, Nottingham Salford and Hereford. This charge is known as "pray and display" as it hits church goers.
Local government minister Grant Shapps says:
“Councils shouldn’t be treating residents as cash cows and raiding their wallets. Instead they should be looking at making savings through sharing back-office services, joint procurement and using transparency to root out waste.”