MPs on the Commons Transport Committee were of the opinion that drivers have to be given a five minute grace period after expiry of their parking tickets before they could start facing any fines. The Committee went on to add that the different councils in England needed to publish annual accounts of parking charges to prove that they were not using parking charges as a cash cow.
The Transport Committee added that it was unacceptable and illegal to increase revenues by use of fines. Actually, the councils made a surplus of several millions of pounds every year. The MPs were of the opinion that ministers should freeze the charges with a limit of £70 for those outside London and £130 in London.
Labour MP and Committee Chairman, Louise Ellman indicated that the public perceived that parking enforcement was being used as a cash cow; therefore, it is crucial for Local authorities to be transparent. The report although may be hard to justify indicated that the Local Government Association had a surplus of £411m in 2011/2012 although the figure was put at £565m by the RAC Foundation.
The maximum penalty for speeding should be £60 except the case is taken to court. Mrs Ellman was of the opinion that annual parking accounts would make it possible for the public to know the amount of revenue the Local Government received from enforcement of fines and the proportion that was contributed by on or off street parking charges.
She went on to add that the Central Government need to take an initiate to scrap maximum penalty charges and instead develop fines that are different depending on the parking violations you have committed.
Mrs Ellman also added that the rules for Councils need to have a five-minute grace period after the ticket expires before they can be fined. The Economy and transport Board of the Local Government has however said that the parking controls are not for increasing revenue but rather to ensure safe flow of traffic and encourage people to pack near their homes or local stalls.