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Leeds’ parking profits on the rise

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THE CITY’S motorists have contributed more to record national profits from parking fees and fines than road users in any other local authority area in Yorkshire.

A report published today by the RAC shows that Leeds City Council recorded the biggest profit in the region from parking charges and penalties in the last year - £7.2million, compared to £6.8m the year before.

Overall, local councils in Yorkshire made a £33.2m profit from parking activities in 2014/15, contributing to record ever £693m total profits generated by local authorities nationally - a four per cent rise on the total sum for 2013/14.

Describing the overall profits as “eye-watering”, Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, said the revenue must be used to improve transport infrastructure.

He said: “The legal position is that parking charges are to be used as a tool for managing traffic. But with local government budgets under ever-greater pressure the temptation to see them as a fundraiser must be intense.”

Mr Gooding praised Leeds Council for its annual report on how its surplus is spent, adding: “The bottom line is that restrictions and charges should always be about managing traffic and never about revenue raising.”

A spokesman for Leeds Council said managing demand for parking, keeping traffic and the economy moving, and encouraging people to make the most of public transport was a “delicate balance”, and added: “Any surplus income which is generated from parking charges by the council is used to help pay for improvements to the transport infrastructure.”