posted 5 years ago

Local Councils Risk Illegally Targeting Motorists

Online Tool Risks Placing Councils On Wrong Side Of Law

Local councils risk illegally targeting motorists as a source of income, The Telegraph has reported. How? Via an online calculator called “You Choose” that encourages voters to suggest how the authorities can raise enough money – or save enough money – to fill any deficit. This tool is available for councils throughout the country including: Cheshire West and Chester, Croydon, Hertfordshire, Middlesbrough, Nuneaton and Bedworth, Southampton, Staffordshire Moorlands, and Welwyn Hatfield, etc. Crucially, voters are told that: “in order to raise more income the council could increase charges, expand controlled parking zones, increase the number of on-street pay and display bays and extend parking controls and enforcement activity”. Voters can then effectively approve this suggestion and see how much money it would raise. A council might then use this feedback as a mandate to boost its income. However, the Telegraph has reported that it is “against the law to deliberately make money from the motorist” in this context. Parking controls, after all, are only supposed to keep traffic moving, improve safety for pedestrians and motorists and ensure people can park outside their homes/near to shops. 

Eric Pickles Discusses You Choose Online Tool

The Telegraph reported that Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, wants the tool removed and said: “This threatens to undermine public trust in local government” and “I believe such stealthy activity reinforces the need for a clampdown on dodgy parking practices by overzealous council officers. This Government will stand up for hard-working families and local shops against town hall parking bullies.”

Motoring Experts Discuss You Choose Tool

The You Choose tool seems to be viewed with suspicion by motoring experts. As such Stephen Glaister, Director of the RAC Foundation, asked whether this: “is this the smoking gun which damns some councils?” He added: “it is extraordinary that local authorities have been engaging with residents and suggesting that hiking parking charges is a valid way of balancing the budget. The law says it isn’t.” Furthermore Edmund King, President of the AA, said that: “it proves what we have been saying that too many local authorities have been using parking to generate revenue rather than keep traffic flowing.” Finally parking campaigner Barrie Segal argued that this tool: ''shows the astonishing level of cynicism that councils have reached in milking the motorist.'' A Local Government Association spokesperson, however, stressed that the tool is only: “designed to allow the public to see in simple terms some of the difficult decisions councils are having to make”.



Our local MP Nick Bowles is of the opinion that our high street should get rid of retail and become residential! Therefore the high street as we know it dies and it becomes another housing estate only in the middle of town. Needless to say bowles does not live in our town he lives in a nearby town that retains it's historic heritage and most of the town centre buildings are listed. Oh yes also there is a perfectly good car park not far from the town centre that is locked and bolted all the time and town parking is being squeezed out in favour of loading only bays with signs that are only a couple of feet from the floor so cannot be seen if a vehicle is in the bay. Thats what we pay poll tax for it stinks!!!!!

I agree with Rod Butterton along with the recession the high parking charges in towns plus the fines culture set by the councils is killing the highstreet shops off, why do they think people go to the out of town free carparks. I also agree with Robin Hood cut the number of councillors and their perks, also their trips abroad for twinning, if they saved the money from that and other stupid ideas they wouldn't have to cut public services. Remember this when you next vote.

I think its a conspiracy with councils and supermarkets working together with the councils to flatten the high streets and monopolise the system its so sad to see the way were going not only the police suppose to be here to protect the public turning into a self suficiant business tapping into the motorist for its income immigration running a mok wtf is happening with our system ? our great grandparents DIED TO GIVE US WHAT WEVE GOT TODAY AND WERE PISSING ON THERE GRAVES IN PUBLIC COME ON GREAT BRITAIN PULL YOUR FINGERS OUT .

Moaning about parking will do no good. You have the power.Complain to your local Councillor or wait for the local elections and speak to the Candidates.That should make them sit up and take notice.Of course if you don't bother then you only have yourself to blame.

Croydon council makeover through some diabolical tactics, my wife hit a ticket for parking for 8 seconds when she recently dropped my grandson off not even parking just setting down a passenger. The whole practice stinks as do Croydon council parking services

I would rather go to an out-of-town supermarket where car parking is free. These councils are supposed to work for us! People like me won't pay to park. If councils reduced or abandoned parking charges, people would flock to city/town centres and spend money in high street shops and bring a halt to all the closing/closed units. I agree that roadside parking needs to be controlled otherwise there would be chaos. However, parking wardens seem to prey on those who overstay their welcome instead of being pro-active and guiding people to bays/car parks suited to the shoppers' requirements. My local council has car park meters that accept only major value coins and the price the periods in £'s & pence but don't give change, thus another rip-off scam. The backlog of pothole 'repairs' (hole-filling) prove that the money isn't spent on the roads. Then see where the money goes by way of the executives’ pay & pension contributions!!

Re Justin Cee "Perhaps they could have a 'You Choose' website to let tax payers decide on how to save money by cutting councillors golden handshakes, expensis, public sector pensions, fat cat salaries, benefits etc. The phrase goes 'don't bite the hand that feeds you'." They have already reduced or stopped a lot of the services paid in council tax to prop up the Golden Pensions.

Would I be correct in assuming that 'David Cockayne' lives in either a town or a city?? Living in neither I HAVE to use a car if I want to get into either in order to do any shopping! Therefore the proposal is an unfair and discriminatory tax on people living in rural communities!!

Just boycott the town centres who do this,you are motorists, drive to the next place which does not charge. Shop owners will soon complain, or shop online

And they wonder why people prefer to use the internet to shop rather than pay extortionate in-city charges?

Hello its 2013 were not in some dirt track country its the uk.Its NO privilege we pay highly for the roads we use today.Not to mention all the pot holes unfilled.

We have the solution in our hands. If we voted only for councillors who were not in favour of the extortionate charges maybe matters would change.

Regarding David Cockayne's comment "Using the roads is a privilege, not a right.", whilst he is not wrong, however the privilege is paid for through our Road Fund Licence (Road Tax Disc). Why should we the motorist pay even more to use the roads that we are already taxed to use? The monies should be found elsewhere.

I would like to see the first Council who would have the nerve to ask whether their Councillors are being paid too much in salary and expenses to gauge the public reaction to that question? Like any of thee types of "surveys" they only ask the qustions that suit what the Council wants.

As long as any money raised is used to provide new parking or maintain existing provision this is completely legal, and often desirable, especially if linked to park & ride schemes. It may also be legal to use it for road maintenance. Using the roads is a privilege, not a right. We need to reduce car use, urgently, if this helps, great by me.

It has been a well known fact for years, that councils will take what they can from the public. It appears that this is an exercise that helps them on the way to being MPs. (ROB THE PUBLIC WHEREVER AND WHENEVER YOU CAN ) and you will make an execelent MP. Why hide it, there's no prosecution, "they are above the law"!!!

Hear, hear, to Scott's comments! I used to live in Essex and use the bridge & tunnel regularly. I still go back at least once a year, and every time I do, the tolls have gone up. Motorists are just seen as an easy target by councils to raise revenues time & time again - or so it seems. No thought whatsoever for the local businesses & shops that invariably suffer the consequences of constantly hiked parking charges & fines in town centres. No wonder so many high streets have become so unappealing to shoppers!

When will the people of this country understand that we are controlled by a gang of scumbags. All governments look after the minority of the population that have a majority share of the wealth of the country. If they could we would all be living in the dark ages "master & serf". The corruption and greed is just unbelievable. What we need is our own version of the Frnech revolution and get rid of the so called upper classes.

I must agree with Justin Cee the savings should be made from cutting down on the pay, expenses, perks, golden handshakes, pensions etc of these councillors,the numbers could also be cut as is what is happening on the shop floor. For far too long they have been allowed to milk the tax payers and motorists.And by doing so are killing off services, town centres and the like.The people have lost control to what I see as nothing more than despots. Change is needed and fast.

Paving previously safe parking areas on roads for non existent extra pedestrians sens people to the car parks - or to free parking at out of town shops. lose down all towm shops, convert to houses and loacl council gets taxes - or fill with illegal immigrants on 'soosh'. Brilliant concept of jumped up squirts on councils....helped by tree huggers and do-gooders. Bring on the revolution.....

This is a s corrupt as it gets and these councils will do anything to sustain their evil final salary pensions, flexitime, 4 weeks off sick and enhanced redundancy/early retirement. Even in my beautiful home town of Harrogate-the happiest place to live in the UK the greedy bastards don't miss a trick. I was recently parked in a virtually empty multi-story in a bay allegedly for 2 cars and as the car park was empty I didn't worry about taking up 1 and a bit spaces and got fined for illegal parking. Robbing greedy bxstards

Conversely, we've got a junction near our house which is persistently blocked/obscured by selfish parkers dumping their cars on double yellows and in a "solo m/c only" space that's too small for them - resulting in the car sticking out 2" into the main carriageway. The council could pay for a full time parking officer purely by targeting this one corner every day for a month.

Perhaps they could have a 'You Choose' website to let tax payers decide on how to save money by cutting councillors golden handshakes, expensis, public sector pensions, fat cat salaries, benefits etc. The phrase goes 'don't bite the hand that feeds you'.

Qe11/ dartford crossing....a prime example of the goverment taking the biscuit where motorists are concerned! Built using taxpayers money....was meant to be free once it had paid for itself! I can remember at least two price hikes in the last 3 or four years and wouldn't like to imagine how many times over it has "paid for itself" and now they have sold it off to a private (French owned) doubt not paying there taxes to the British government. So all in all we as a nation paid for it then paid for it some more in tolls and then the goverment raked it in by selling it leaving the motorist to pay for it forever more....there all just untrustworthy fat cats that are in it for themselves and not the people that elected them!

Never was this targeting more so blatantly seen than when in the grid locked multi-storey carpark and access roads (1 hour to get out) so called traffic attendants/wardens/officials/ were totally ignoring the chaos caused by rank poor road markings and priorities and instead trying to collect timed out parking ticket charges from those stuck in the car park for over an hour. Thieves!

If you have a car this is a clear indicator of access to disposable income. Our main focus is to part you with any disposable income. So giving the Government disposable income to squander. Tally ho.

Every council is at it! At the moment I have on ongoing dispute with Camden Council regarding their 'Garage emission Charges' being levied on tenants who rent garages from them . It is clearly a fraudulent charge as cars parked in the garages emit 'nothing' It is again, clearly, a money making exercise and nothing else. So as your article points out, this is an illegal practice. which must be addressed sooner than later.