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Councils criticised over parking fines

Councils across the country have been criticised over issuing too many parking tickets after Freedom of Information requests showed income from fines in 2013/14 is up on last year.

According to analysis by the Labour Party, the total collected in parking fines across England could be as much as £1.38 billion, which would be up from £1.32 billion in the prior 12 months.

Hilary Benn MP, Labour's shadow local government secretary, accused Prime Minister David Cameron and communities secretary Eric Pickles of failing to deliver on their promise to bring parking charges and fines down.

He said: "Our research reveals that it is Tory councils that are making most money from charges and fines. Once again, their promises have proved to be nothing but hot air."

Mr Pickles argued that "the industrial use of CCTV spy cars allowed under laws introduced by Labour" is to blame for income from parking tickets rising.

He added: "The Labour government told councils to hike parking charges - by contrast, Conservatives in government are standing up for shoppers and local firms."

Labour's analysis found that drivers in the south of England have been particularly hard hit by parking tickets in the last 12 months, while Westminster alone was revealed to have taken £81 million in charges and fines last year.

The total amount in parking charges and fines collected in London in the last year was £327 million, with 20 of 32 boroughs having answered the survey. Across England, 214 of 326 councils took part in the research.

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