Monday 15 October 2012

The petrolhead Coalition’s latest gift to the petrolhead community

First this crackpot Coalition pulled the plug on speed cameras, then they mooted raising the speed limit on motorways to 80 mph, and now they have decided to spare petrolheads the effort of using the Freedom of Information Act in order to find out how much revenue local authorities accrue from car parking charges.

Councils will have to declare the total paid by drivers to park in both on-street and off-street bays, after new government figures showed local authorities’ total income from parking hitting £1.27 billion last year. 

Ministers believe the new “transparency” drive is vital to ensure local politicians can be properly held to account by motorists - and to help reverse the decline of the country’s high streets, including the closure of businesses. 

Earlier this year a government report conducted by Mary Portas, the retail expert, identified that high cost of parking as one of the reasons why shoppers were deserting high streets in favour of out-of-town centres where parking is often free. 

Mr Pickles said: “We are ending an era of bureaucratic accountability and replacing it with a more open era of democratic accountability. It is right that taxpayers get to see how town halls spend their hard earned taxes so they can properly hold local politicians to account. 

“As part of that we will expose a great council cash cow cover-up, unmasking punitive parking practices that hit residents in the pocket. We’re calling time on the billion pound local war against motorists – now, more than ever, we need to see the back of this shopping tax and encourage more people onto the high street.” 

Town halls are supposed to control parking to improve traffic flow and stop gridlock occurring, and they are prohibited by law from using their powers in this area simply to boost their income. However, ministers and their advisers believe a growing number of councils seek to get round these rules by earmarking the cash raised for other transport projects. 

Yes, it would be shocking to think that some of this money might end up being spent on cycling infrastructure, because as we know cyclists are layabouts and spongers and anarchists who contribute nothing to society. Nobody who rides a bicycle has any money, which is why so many businesses try to deter these ne’er-do-wells by refusing to supply them with bike stands. Keep these riff-raff away from our high streets.