MORE than £2million was raised by car parking charges for Worcester City Council last year – but there are no plans to increase prices despite income dropping by £300,000.

Worcester City Council raised £2.1million in profit for parking in 2018/19 according to government figures – but saw numbers for one of its biggest sources of income fall by £300,000.

Cllr Jabba Riaz, chairman of the income generation committee, said car parking charges were always about finding a “delicate balance” between creating income for the council and supporting existing and future businesses in the city.

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He said: “Council budgets are very stretched and with car parking it is always about finding a delicate balance between raising the money needed to provide services and supporting businesses and the High Street.

“From my point of view, we as a council are trying to find other ways of generating income but car parking charges are always going to be an integral part of it.

“The charges for parking are one of the fairest in the county and I am determined to keep the prices fair value.”

“We want to bring people into the city and I think increasing charges would prevent that.”

Cllr Marc Bayliss, leader of the city council, said he was not concerned the amount of profit had dropped last year and had no interest in putting up charges.

He said: “It is an important source of revenue for the council but I am very proud to have campaigned to not increase charges and will long continue to do so."

Cllr Bayliss said charging for parking was not about making profits for the council but about making money to support services around the city.

All the profit made by the council last year came from off-street parking, such as local authority-run car parks like St Martin’s Gate and the Cattle Market – but on-street parking cost the council £72,000, according to figures published by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.

The leader of the council laughed off claims earlier this year that more expensive parking charges would cut congestion and said an increase would be the “completely wrong solution.”

He said the notion that cheaper parking fees were putting people off using the bus was “total nonsense.”

Worcester City Council said it does not make a profit from car parking charges and instead pumps the money back into services.

A spokesman said: “All income from car parking goes into supporting traffic and parking management and the maintenance of infrastructure.

“For example, this year alone we invested £200,000 in 42 new payment machines, enabling customers to pay by card as well as cash.

“We aren’t concerned that income from car parking is falling. Monthly income from off-street car parking for the first six months of 2019/20 is above average compared to monthly income for the past four years.

“However, recent flooding and the need to close car parks for maintenance has had an impact.

“The council holds reserves for this purpose, which will be replenished when income returns to expected levels.”