Simon Read: Councils must not make a profit from residents
One in three councils raises more money from parking and other domestic charges than they get through council tax. That startling fact was revealed this week by the Audit Commission.
In fact, councils raised more than £10bn last year by charging for rubbish, pest control, funerals and parking. It's fine to charge, but not to profit from residents.
Parking is my particular bugbear. When charges were introduced in my area in southwest London, the council claimed it was to deter outsiders and that locals would just be charged a small fee.
That has since quadrupled, which has suggested to me for a while that the council is using the charge as an extra moneyspinner.
That has been confirmed by the Audit Commission figures. Its analysis revealed that councils raise 150 per cent more in parking charges that they spend on the service. That's totally cock-eyed. Councils are there to serve us, not to introduce ways to fleece us.
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