A Ssurvey by a business pressure group shows that the amount motorists pay in parking charges and fines to local councils across England has risen by 10% in just five years.
But authorities in Yorkshire were among those taking the least income from parking charges, permit and penalty notice charges – while London and the Thames Valley were the ones taking the most.
The survey by the Federation of Small Businesses showed that West Yorkshire councils took £5.724m during the five-year period. The lowest figure was for East Yorkshire at £2.740m while South Yorkshire was fourth lowest at £9.920m.
London took a massive £323.19m followed by Thames Valley at £44.82m. In total, the five local councils raking in the most income from motorists amassed £479.37m.
The data, obtained by the FSB following a Freedom of Information, showed that income from parking, permit and penalty notice charges rose from £810m in 2008 to £884m in 2011 – a rise of almost 10%.
The FSB said there was a clear connection between protecting local high streets and the impact of parking charges.
It said local authorities should work closely with businesses and residents to get a more effective parking policy in place, saying: “The FSB wants to see business groups and central and local government join forces to discuss creative solutions to the parking issues faced by regions, with heavy parking charges used only as a last resort.
The survey showed that 59% of retailers in urban areas believe that reducing the cost of parking is a priority compared with 45% of rural retailers. Some 53% of urban retailers think that increasing the availability of parking should be a priority against 31%.
The FSB supports the Mary Portas Review, launched in 2011, which gave 18 recommendations to Government – one of which suggested that “local areas should implement free controlled parking schemes that work for their town centres and should have a new parking league table”.
FSB national chairman John Allan said: “We know that budgets are tight, but we don't want to see parking being used as a revenue grab.
“FSB experience shows that when parking charges are introduced many shops suffer.”