Leader comment: Drivers are no cash cow for councils

Parking charges went up by more than three times the rate of inflation last year (Picture: Andrew O'Brien)
Parking charges went up by more than three times the rate of inflation last year (Picture: Andrew O'Brien)
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As The Scotsman reveals today, motorists paid more than £70 million in council car parking charges last year, after a rise of more than three times the rate of inflation on the previous year.

It would appear the increased charges are being used by hard-pressed councillors to help fill in gaps in their budget. At at time when many potholes are not being filled in, this may seem to be particularly unfair to many drivers.

While it is hard to be too critical of councils – given their dire financial straits and the tough decisions they have been forced to make about cuts to services – motorists should not be seen as a cash cow.

READ MORE: Edinburgh motorists face tough new restrictions

The need to park is not a reasonable indicator of the ability to pay what can be seen as a form of tax that particularly affects those who travel to our biggest cities.

And, as well as adding to the cost of living of drivers, hiking up parking charges could have a knock-on effect on businesses that rely on shoppers arriving by car.

Parking fines have also risen sharply, up 10 per cent, an increase that will prompt concerns about whether these are always being applied fairly.

READ MORE: Aberdeen is worst in Scotland for rush-hour traffic jams