Raking in the Revenue

The Government is raking in the cash from motorists. It’s not just the vast revenues from petrol taxes. They are taking more and more in fines.

Last Wednesday, we found out just how much they had scooped up in speeding fines. Since they came to power, Labour have trebled the number of tickets issued. Combined with the increase in fines by 50%, the cost to motorists has gone from £28.5 million in 1997 to £115.2 million in 2005. The Government says reason for the increase in speed cameras has been to increase road safety, but while fines have increased over 400%, road deaths have fallen by 6%.

If you think speeding fines are a cash cow, then you haven’t considered parking fines. These amount to £1.2 billion a year. Now the amount is set rise dramatically.

Parking attendants are being given new powers. They no longer have to put the ticket on a windscreen. All they have to say is that they observed the offense but were prevented from putting the notice on the car. This is intended to prevent drive-offs on the one hand and threatening behaviour on the other, but there is nothing requiring either of these extremes. A motorist could be completely unaware that their car as been “oberserved”. But it gets worse. No, really.

Parkers will also be losing the right to an independent appeal. Currently, the National Parking Adjudication Service handles appeals. This means that local councils, who receive the money, don’t decide them. Now they will. It is a bit like the police serving as the judge in crminal cases.

It’s just a little bit of a conflict of interest. In essence, the council employee writes a cheque to the council from your bank account. You will then have to prove that the council should give you your money back. Since the parking attendant has no burden of proof whatsoever, you have an overwhelming burden of proof and virtually no way to collect evidence.

Parking attendants will be able to meet their quotas, or exceed them, without any worry about any come back on their actions. Councils may have to hire additional employees just to haul all of the loot to the bank.

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