Parking offence fines in England could be cut

 
car parked on double yellow lines

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Parking fines in England could be reduced, amid claims some councils are using them as a "cash cow".

The government could also order local authorities to bring in a five-minute "grace period" before issuing tickets when cars remain in bays for too long.

And it is looking at banning the use of CCTV cameras to enforce on-street parking restrictions.

Fixed-penalty charges currently range from £70 to £130 in London and from £40 to £70 elsewhere.

In a recent report, the Commons Transport Committee said it was "hard to justify parking fines that are substantially more than the fines for more serious offences like speeding", for which the minimum penalty is £100 and three penalty points added to the offender's licence.

'Initial step'

Since then, Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin has frozen the maximum fines councils can impose for parking offences until the 2015 general election.

But, in its response to the MPs' report, the Department for Transport goes further in looking at changing the system, saying it is "considering the legislative options to abolish the minimum rates for parking penalty charges".

This would be "an initial step to giving local authorities the scope to allow lower charges (than £70 in London and £40 in the rest of England) for minor parking variations", such as overstaying in car parks or on-street bays.

It is also looking at banning the use of CCTV cameras to enforce on-street parking restrictions, after the MPs said this could make "common-sense" decisions on when to issue penalties more difficult.

The Local Government Association has calculated that councils made a surplus from on- and off-street parking of £411m in 2011-12, while the RAC Foundation put the figure at £565m.

It is illegal for local authorities to set fines in order to raise revenue.

'Positive'

In a report published last autumn, the Transport Committee said: "A common-sense approach to parking enforcement should minimise the issuing of penalty charge notices to motorists who make honest mistakes."

This should include imposing a nationwide five-minute "grace" period before imposing fines on drivers whose parking tickets have expired, as already happens in some areas, it added.

In its response, the government says this is "worthy of consideration" and is asking the public to put forward its views on this and other proposals.

Transport minister Robert Goodwill said: "The government is committed to reining in over-zealous parking enforcement and unjust parking practices. It is not fair to motorists and needs to stop. That is why we have frozen parking penalty charges for the remainder of this parliament. However, we haven't stopped there.

"We have also recently launched a public consultation proposing a number of changes to make sure local authorities are not short-changing motorists and operate in a fair manner. These changes could see the end of CCTV being used for on-street parking, unnecessary yellow lines and the introduction of compulsory 'grace periods' at the end of paid on-street parking."

The Transport Committee's chairman, Labour MP Louise Ellman, said: "Parking enforcement is an important issue for motorists and for the management of urban roads - including the revitalisation of our town centres so the Transport Committee is pleased to see the government take such a positive attitude to our recommendations."

Prof Stephen Glaister, director of the RAC Foundation, said: "We should see most parking offences for what they are. Not crimes but misdemeanours and we need enforcement that reflects this.

"We need some proportionality and transparency. At the very least all councils should publish an annual report outlining what their parking policy is, how charges are set and where any surplus goes."

Local authority parking operations, 2012-2013
MAP: Councils with surpluses and deficits across England
 

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  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 941.

    My friend has never paid for an on street parking fine!
    When the letter arrives it is returned unopened.
    Marked "No Contract" Return to sender.
    No further action seems to be taken.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 940.

    919.IR35_SURVIVOR
    #867 It is quite easy to get reciept to cover a value from yr mates and also cover them too if required.
    ---
    So you're advocating tax evasion, fraud and false accounting as justifiable responses to a parking ticket?

    Is trolling really that much fun? From an observer's point of view it just makes you look really foolish.

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 939.

    Because of this, I shall be voting Tory in the next election. I'm sure they won't change it back if they win.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 938.

    All places are a little bit different and will need different solutions but the starting position should be that councils (and hospital trusts for that matter) should be looking to manage parking in the best interests of the public, not to make money. We have the technology to link things up these days. If parking availability is high in the afternoon drop the prices or even make it free.

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 937.

    A lot of people are confusing parking offence fines, the subject of this HYS, with car parking charges.

    The two are quite different.

    Perhaps they think that they (and no one else) can park wherever they choose for nothing. So selfish.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 936.

    Local councils have lost their way & have become too politicised. It is driven by the need to swell coffers.

    They should realise they are there to administrate, at the residents behest, to improve their communities not act with political & personal bias. Honesty with communities & dialogue to determine their wishes would go someway to rectifying this issue.

  • Comment number 935.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 934.

    @865 Dorstaples

    Perhaps you can use the money saved to buy yourself a sense of humour.

    That goes for the editor too - perhaps if he would like to email me and tell me why he removed a post that didn't break any of the house rules.

    I can then respond and tell him why he is wrong. Go on - I dare you to have a dialogue rather than sitting in your cozy room randomly pressing buttons.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 933.

    Either its ok to park somewhere or it isn't. Parking fines aren't high- usually £30 if paid promptly, so reducing them would just make them meaningless. Presumably that's what is really in mind here,
    Irresponsible parking puts lives at risk. Presumably thats ok for this govt.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 932.

    #919...
    #919.... I say again , just in case your blue tinted specs filtered the words out... Why is it the TORY areas of London have the GREATEST reserves from parking revenue... please read properly, I am sure Labour have no control over the Tory run areas decisions on parking revenues! Now can they cut taxes while in opposition.
    Do you understand any of this?

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 931.

    Don't see why local councils should be able to spend more than their budget through rooking their own and other people's ratepayers. Suggest all profit generated should be rebated back to central government, so the only motive for councils to issue parking fines and charge for parking is to keep their roads passable, rather than make money that they can spend.

  • rate this
    -3

    Comment number 930.

    It's time we stopped all this stealth/extra tax raising nonsense. Park free, no road fund licence or insurance - stick the costs on fuel and save patrolling all this. Anyone parking illegally after that just gets the car confiscated and sold.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 929.

    Parking offence fines in England could be cut.

    And pigs could fly.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 928.

    883.
    Cyril Nut
    Ha, My borough - Newham - in one fell swoop increased fro 60p to £2.00 minimum. Robin Wales - bless - gave us a free residents permit, and increased threefold the cost of extra permits. Currently the top rate is £150 per car: many in parking zones that have been artificially created. The man's a shark - but is happy for us to have a super-casino - in one of the poorest boroughs.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 927.

    There is no doubt that councils impose parking restrictions to raise money. There are roads in London that are resident only even though they have plenty of space for parking both day and night. There should also be more areas for short stay - like half hour and 1 hour. In addition Councils should be banned from making profit and charge according to admin costs only.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 926.

    So instead your council tax goes up to cover the parking provisions that were covered by fines from people who misused them. How very fair. Not

  • Comment number 925.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 924.

    Parking charges are one way in which councils subsidise council tax.

    Nobody forces anyone to park illegally & if councils are not allowed to collect money in this way, they will find it from somewhere else, even if it means increasing everyone's council tax.

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 923.

    Strongly disagree with this, high parking fines discourage people from parking illegally, and it should remain that way. CCTV should remain to be used for this purpose too, as people are far less likely to park stupidly if they know they're being watched. Parking restrictions are in place for public safety and for traffic flow, why soften the rule? Sort out hazard lights being 'park anywhere' too.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 922.

    Parking offences shouldn't be cut but instead we must make sure that the money from these fines only goes back into improving roads and better parking provisions.

 

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  51.  
    12:58: Clegg talks religion

    Despite being well-known as an atheist, Nick Clegg has given an interview to Premier Christian Radio. The deputy prime minister said he attends mass most weeks with his wife and children and does so "with great joy". "I sometimes think it must be the most wonderful thing to be infused with faith. It's not something that's happened to me, it's not happened to me yet and I would embrace it." He said he might be an atheist but had "never had that much time for what I call vociferous secularism", adding: "I'm always a bit sceptical of anyone who acts with raging certainty about anything."

     
  52.  
    12:55: Sex education response House of Commons Parliament

    Here's what Nicky Morgan had to say in response to Tristram Hunt's request for her support on sex education: "I am fully in favour of full PSHE education on consent. But it has to be excellent, it can't just be about ticking boxes."

     
  53.  
    12:51: Sex education House of Commons Parliament

    Shadow education secretary Tristram Hunt, at the end of a long list of questions to Nicky Morgan, calls for "age-appropriate statutory sex and relationship education to teach young people about consent and healthy sexual relationships". Her agreement would result in cross-party backing for the idea, he says.

     
  54.  
    12:51: 'Brave' victims House of Commons Parliament
    Nicky Morgan

    Oxford West MP Nicola Blackwood, who is a member of the home affairs select committee, asks Nicky Morgan to make it a "personal priority to ensure survivors [of child sexual exploitation] have the long-term and sustainable support they need". "We must not only pay tribute to the victims for their bravery in coming forward but we must also recognise such serious abuse has long-term and complex consequences," she says. The education secretary, above, says she can be reassured the government will do all it can to help them.

     
  55.  
    12:47: Survivors' fund House of Commons Parliament

    There will be a £7m fund to support victims and survivors of child abuse and sexual exploitation, Nicky Morgan adds. But Labour MP for Oxford East Andrew Smith calls for a public inquiry, saying child protection services were "chaotic" and there was a "failure to act on clear evidence on sexual exploitation".

     
  56.  
    12:45: 'Broken windows matter' Daily Politics Live on BBC Two
    David Lammy

    David Lammy, whose report for Policy Exchange has prompted debate today about police's ability to deal with crime, calls for a "debate with the public about whether we still take theft seriously or not". He insists that "broken windows matter" because failing to address low-level crime will only result in more serious crime taking place. Commentator Tim Montgomerie says crime is a "success story" for the government but accepts "there are parts of the country where crime is still a daily problem".

     
  57.  
    12:43: 'Horrific abuse' House of Commons Parliament

    Nicky Morgan is summarising the measures the government is taking to ensure the "horrific abuse" detailed in the Oxford report is "stamped out" and never happens again. David Cameron will chair a meeting of ministers, police and council safeguarding officers later.

     
  58.  
    12:39: Morgan abuse statement House of Commons Parliament

    Foreign Office questions has now come to an end. Education Secretary Nicky Morgan is now making a statement about the serious case review into child sexual abuse in Oxford, saying what has emerged in the report is "sickening". She says child abuse had been a "scourge in many communities around the country".

     
  59.  
    12:36: Diplomatic language House of Commons Parliament

    Ever wondered how many UK diplomats speak Russian or Arabic? Tory MP John Baron is curious, suggesting that linguistic shortcomings may have contributed to the UK being "unsighted" over recent developments in Ukraine or the Middle East. Foreign Office minister Tobias Ellwood says there are 170 Arabic-speaking mandarins in his department and a similar number of Russian speakers.

     
  60.  
    12:35: National security Daily Politics Live on BBC Two
    Margaret Beckett

    Margaret Beckett, chair of parliament's national security strategy committee, is on the Daily Politics explaining why she and her fellow parliamentarians have released a report criticising the government for its limited interest in developing a strategy. "What there doesn't seem to us to be is the kind of coordinated approach that we'd hoped for," she says. More broadly, she says fears about defence cuts are a "legitimate anxiety". The government hasn't been able to make decisions, having stepped back to consider the bigger picture. "They identify high-priority risks but they don't necessarily link them to the spending decisions," she says.

     
  61.  
    12:30: Religious freedoms House of Commons Parliament

    Shadow foreign secretary Douglas Alexander says a new job is needed in the Foreign Office: a global envoy for religious freedom, reporting to the foreign secretary, which he says a Labour government will create. Philip Hammond sounds unimpressed. "Our general approach is to try to get things done," he says, by using the tools already in place. "I don't think simply creating new posts delivers in quite the way the shadow foreign secretary thinks."

     
  62.  
    12:27: Benefit sanctions The Guardian
    Nick Boles

    Business minister Nick Boles has criticised the government's "inhuman" benefit sanctions regime, the Guardian reports. It quotes him telling constituents the current system does "need to be looked at".

     
  63.  
    12:20: 'Hidden from view' Daily Politics Live on BBC Two

    The eye-catching move by the government to impose criminal sanctions on those who fail to ensure the children they're responsible for are protected from sexual exploitation is in line with rules already in place in the NHS, Cllr David Simmonds, from the Local Government Association, tells the Daily Politics. "It's absolutely clear this has been hidden from view - we need to make sure that mums and dads know the signs, that teachers know the signs when they pop up in the classroom."

     
  64.  
    12:21: Wrong question House of Commons Parliament

    A little light relief in the Commons as Labour's Mary Glindon realises she has asked the wrong question. She apologises and changes tack - pressing ministers on the use of the death penalty around the world.

     
  65.  
    12:19: 'Off the rails' House of Commons Parliament
    Philip Hammond

    Philip Hammond tells MPs that the European Union has "gone off the rails" over the past 20 years and substantial reforms are needed, "not just some backroom deal". He says the Conservatives' pledge of a referendum has "lit a fire" under the situation in Europe and claims that he has the backing of at least 23 other members for its position.

     
  66.  
    12:16: Child sexual exploitation: a national threat? Norman Smith BBC Assistant Political Editor
    A child in Rotherham

    The thing that really stands out for me, Norman Smith tells the Daily Politics, is Mr Cameron's decision to categorise child exploitation as a "national threat". At one level that is to ensure police forces cooperate with each other in trying to tackle child sexual exploitation. At another it is an attempt to give a wake-up call to the nation. Mr Cameron's view is it is a national moment because he believes it is endemic, not confined to one or two towns.

     
  67.  
    12:11: Iranian diplomacy House of Commons Parliament

    Former Foreign Office minister Alistair Burt says he's soon going to be welcoming the first delegation of Iranian parliamentarians to visit Britain in a very long time. This is good news, Human Rights Minister Tobias Ellwood believes. "It's through full and frank engagement we can get our message across," he says.

     
  68.  
    12:06: Now on your TV screens... Daily Politics Live on BBC Two

    Over on BBC2, the Daily Politics is now underway, with journalists Tim Montgomerie and Steve Richards offering their views at the start of the programme. You can watch by clicking on the 'live coverage' tab at the top of this page.

     
  69.  
    11:59: Russia sanctions House of Commons Parliament

    Labour backbencher Willie Bain calls for tougher sanctions against Russia, and Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond agrees that they should be strengthened immediately. "We need to have that tool in place," he argues, in order to incentivise Russia into complying with the timetable set out in Minsk. "Our role has been, is, and will remain, to stiffen the resolve of all 28 EU members to be united and to be aligned with the United States in deploying what has been a very powerful weapon."

     
  70.  
    @Kevin_Maguire Kevin Maguire, associate editor of the Daily Mirror

    tweets: Awful Oxfordshire sex abuse scandal in Cameron's backyard echoes Rotherham. Sack this council too?

     
  71.  
    11:56: Space-age Britain
    Virgin Galactic

    The government's search for a British spaceport has made some progress today, with the number of potential locations on the shortlist narrowed down to just six. These are:

    • Campbeltown Airport
    • Glasgow Prestwick Airport
    • Llanbedr Airfield
    • Newquay Cornwall Airport
    • RAF Leuchars
    • Stornoway Airport

    The next step, according to this morning's consultation response, is working out more clearly what exactly a spaceport actually is. "The government is developing a detailed technical specification of spaceport requirements to increase understanding of 'what is a spaceport' and the detailed technical requirements for spaceplane operations," it says. More in our story here.

     
  72.  
    11:50: Tony Blair's future House of Commons Parliament
    Foreign Office questions

    Angus Robertson. the SNP leader in Westminster, asks whether the UK government still has confidence in Tony Blair's efforts as a Middle East peace envoy. "Mr Blair has made large number of visits to the region, he continues to engage," Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond says, before adding: "And I've no doubt his role will be kept under constant review."

     
  73.  
    @paulwaugh Paul Waugh, editor of Politics.Home.com

    tweets: This is Philip Hammond's final Foreign Office Questions before the election. Will it be his final ever FCO Qs as Foreign Sec?

     
  74.  
    @Steven_Swinford Steven Swinford, deputy political editor, the Telegraph.

    tweets: Sir Malcolm Rifkind returns to political arena after cash-for-access scandal to urge govt to help Libya become 'moderate secular force'

     
  75.  
    11:45: Rifkind returns House of Commons Parliament

    Sir Malcolm Rifkind gets a loud "hear hear" from Conservative MPs before asking his question about helping democratic forces in Libya to create a "decent country". Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond laments that it's not as simple as just getting behind a democratic authority - because it's not clear exactly where that democratic authority comes from. "It is vital to our security that there is a stable government in Libya," he agrees. Of course, Sir Malcolm was in the headlines last week over a cash for access sting.

     
  76.  
    11:43: Commons under way House of Commons Parliament

    The Commons' sitting day has now begun, with proceedings starting after prayers with Foreign Office questions. Also coming up over lunchtime are an urgent question on child sexual exploitation in Oxfordshire; a further urgent question from home affairs committee chairman Keith Vaz on Yarl's Wood immigration detention centre; a statement from Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt on the independent investigation into Maternity Services at Morecambe Bay; and then a further statement from Housing Minister Brandon Lewis on the proposed new garden city at Ebbsfleet.

     
  77.  
    @BBCJamesCook James Cook, Scotland correspondent for BBC News

    tweets: First Minister @NicolaSturgeon confirms the SNP no longer wants a blanket 3% reduction in corporation tax, instead favouring targeted cuts.

     
  78.  
    @DeHavilland DeHavilland, political research organisation

    tweets: Speaker Bercow said in his #Speaker2015 lecture last night he'd granted 211 UQs. 2 more 2day takes that total to 213! Predecessor granted 2.

     
  79.  
    11:24: Government plans

    Theresa May's statement announces the following:

    • a new independent taskforce, which will work in local authorities where child abuse is a concern
    • a new centre of professional expertise to develop better approaches to tackling sexual abuse
    • a £1m campaign to raise awareness and give advice to anyone worried about a child
    • a national whistleblowing helpline for anyone concerned about failures to protect children
    • a new inspection system to ensure local agencies are working effectively
     
  80.  
    11:20: Theresa May statement

    This is the home secretary's written ministerial statement, published this morning, on the issue of child sexual abuse. We'll take a look at it in more detail shortly.

     
  81.  
    11:15: Abuse report

    The full case review can be read here.

     
  82.  
    11:14: 'Never be put right'

    Jim Leivers, Oxfordshire County Council's director for children, education and families, said the council "made many mistakes and missed opportunities to stop the abuse". The report "shows very clearly that the girls were badly let down by the people and organisations that could - and should - have protected them", he continued. "The dreadful experiences faced by these young women can never be put right. But the safeguarding board is now in a much better position to prevent, disrupt and detect these crimes."

     
  83.  
    11:13: Police apologise

    Chief Constable Sara Thornton, of Thames Valley Police, said: "We are ashamed of the shortcomings identified in this report and we are determined to do all we can to ensure that nothing like this ever happens again."

     
  84.  
    @LisaSkyNews Lisa Dowd, Sky News correspondent

    tweets: Report: victims white girls, perpetrators mainly Asian men. Recommends more research at national level into this issue.

     
  85.  
    11:10: 'Unacceptable delays' BBC News Channel

    Independent chair of the Oxfordshire Safeguarding Children Board Maggie Blyth is outlining a catalogue of failures. Parents weren't listened to, children were treated as though they had consented to the abuse. While there was "no disregard of clear warnings" at a top level, there were "unacceptable delays" in reacting to what was going on that allowed perpetrators to get away with their crimes, she goes on.

     
  86.  
    @sandralaville Sandra Laville, senior correspondent for the Guardian

    tweets: There was a professional tolerance of children having sex with older men

     
  87.  
    11:05: 'Indescribably awful'

    Alan Bedford, the author of the independent review, wrote: "What happened to the child victims of the sexual exploitation in Oxfordshire was indescribably awful.

    "The child victims and their families feel very let down. Their accounts of how they perceived professional work are disturbing and chastening."

     
  88.  
    11:04:

    As many as 373 girls might have suffered abuse in Oxfordshire, the report has found.

     
  89.  
    @LisaSkyNews Lisa Dowd, Sky News correspondent

    tweets: Serious case review finds no evidence of 'wilful professional neglect' despite girls being trafficked & raped for a decade

     
  90.  
    11:02: Child sex abuse

    The report into child sexual abuse in Oxfordshire has just been released and a news conference on its findings is about to begin.

     
  91.  
    11:01: More on Turing's Law

    Labour say they will introduce legislation to allow the family and friends of deceased men to apply to the Home Office to quash convictions made under the historic gross indecency law. The Protection of Freedom Act (2012) currently allows individuals still alive to apply to have their convictions quashed, but at present, no such redress is available for the relatives of those now dead.

     
  92.  
    @BBCNormanS Norman Smith, assistant political editor

    tweets: Ed Miliband pledges to introduce "Turing's Law" - posthumous pardons for gay men convicted under historic indecency laws

     
  93.  
    10:54: 'Stain on society'

    Ed Miliband has told Gay Times Magazine he would fight to obtain pardons for all men convicted as criminals for being gay under the UK's now repealed gross indecency law. It follows the pardon for WW2 codebreaker Alan Turing. "I think it's a stain on our society, frankly," he told the magazine. "I think it's right what's been done in relation to Alan Turing and his family, but there are also other families that will have had relatives who were convicted... simply because of the person they love... I think we owe it to the LGBT community to make this move."

     
  94.  
    @labourwhips Labour whips

    tweets: 2 UQs today: A Smith to Home Sec re Child Sexual Exploitation in Oxfordshire & K Vaz to Home Sec re Yarl's Wood immigration detention centre

     
  95.  
    10:48: 'Half-way house' BBC News Channel

    Liz Dux, a lawyer at Slater and Gordon who represents victims, wants the government to introduce mandatory reporting of child abuse allegations. She says: "What concerns me about today is that it'll be a half-way house. The burden of proof for wilful neglect is very high. The burden would be on the prosecutors to show that a member of staff had knowledge and deliberately didn't pass it on.

    "We don't want people prosecuted for this, we want to stop the paedophiles. No-one wants to see a raft of litigation against social services - what we want to do is change the culture. So something is reported to you and you automatically know, you have no choice, you have to pass it on."

     
  96.  
    10:41: Charity 'sorry' for Blair award BBC Radio 4

    Earlier on Today, the chief executive of Save the Children apologised for giving Tony Blair a global legacy award. Justin Forsyth said he was "very sorry" to the supporters and volunteers who were "upset" by the honour, given Mr Blair's involvement in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Admitting the row had "in part" damaged the charity, he added: "This has been really an unnecessary distraction." This was our original story about the award.

     
  97.  
    10:33: MPs question Mark Carney

    In Parliament, Bank of England governor Mark Carney is answering questions from the Treasury select committee on its monitoring of the foreign exchange industry. The Bank has accepted that recent misconduct allegations in financial markets have increased the need to strengthen its oversight regime.

     
  98.  
    @alantravis40 Alan Travis, Guardian home affairs editor

    tweets: Theresa May's decision to make child sex abuse part of the strategic policing requirement puts it on par with terrorism & organised crime

     
  99.  
    10:27: 'I would do it differently' Buzzfeed

    Nicky Morgan, who also serves as equalities minister in addition to her job as education secretary, has given an interview to BuzzFeed about her views on homosexuality. She infamously voted against gay marriage in February 2013 but says her experience in the job has changed her mind. "Doing this role as equalities minister means you learn a lot," Mrs Morgan says. "You speak to a lot of people and yeah, hence very much I think if the vote was held now I would do it differently."

     
  100.  
    @YvetteCooperMP Yvette Cooper, shadow home secretary

    tweets: Theresa May says her failed net migration target will be in Tory manifesto. Again. No ifs, no buts. Who does she think she is kidding?

     

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