Tory councils 'make more from parking than Labour'

Traffic warden checking parking meters in central London Data about parking charges was provided by 226 councils following a freedom of information request

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Conservative-run councils bring in more income from parking charges than Labour town halls, says research published by the opposition.

Shadow local government secretary Hilary Benn said: "Tory councils are imposing much higher charges when families up and down the country are seeing their incomes squeezed."

But Local Government Minister Brandon Lewis said: "It was the Labour government that cynically targeted motorists, actively encouraging councils to increase parking charges."

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles said recently he wanted to expose the "great council cash-cow cover-up" over parking.

Mr Pickles recently described parking charges as a "shopping tax" and accused councils of waging a "local war against motorists".

But Labour said Mr Pickles' Tory colleagues were charging the equivalent of nearly £43 per local household each year.

Responses from 226 authorities to a freedom of information request by the Labour Party showed the figure for Labour-run councils was £29.69 per household per year.

The average was £37.49, with those under Liberal Democrat control bringing in £39.08 and hung councils £34.41.

'Unfair'

Of the councils which responded, 116 were Conservative, 69 Labour and seven Lib Dem.

Mr Benn said: "It's unfair, it's damaging local high streets and small businesses, and we hope Eric Pickles, the Tory Secretary of State for Local Government, will tell his councils to stop behaving in this way."

But Mr Lewis responded by saying: "The coalition has ripped up John Prescott's planning guidance that told councils to hike parking charges to discourage drivers and we have ditched Labour's policy of restricting the number of parking spaces.

"These figures give a partial and skewed picture failing to account for the different costs in different parts of the country."

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