MILLIONS of pounds in profit from parking charges were clocked up by Southampton City Council (SCC) last year, according to recent figures.

The AA has accused some authorities of using parking fees to plug budget gaps.

Parking services in Southampton raised £6 million in profit during 2018 to 19, according to Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government data - with all of its profit made from authority-run off-street parking.

This was 12 percent less than the previous year, when it made £6.8 million.

Jack Cousens, head of roads policy for the AA, said: “When it comes to parking charges, many councils see drivers as wallets on wheels.

"At a time when budgets are stretched, raking in parking fees seems to be a tool to try and fill the councils’ coffers.

“Some of the incomes are eyewatering. Drivers want to see that cash reinvested in local roads to eliminate potholes and poor road markings.”

The drop in profits made from parking in Southampton bucks the trend across England, where profits hit a record high of £936 million.

This increased by £63 million from the previous year.

David Renard, transport spokesman for Local Government Association, said: “Any income raised through on-street parking charges and fines is spent on running parking services, and any surplus is only spent on essential transport projects, such as filling potholes, supporting concessionary bus fares to help reduce congestion and other local transport projects that benefit high streets and local economies.”

A spokesperson for SCC said: “Parking charges and enforcement are an important tool for ensuring public safety, to help manage congestion and encourage the turnover of vehicles so that parking spaces remain accessible for all.

“All surplus revenue from on-street parking charges, permits, season tickets and penalty charge notices is ring fenced for expenditure related to transport, highways and parking.

"Over the last four years, SCC has invested £5.3M of its on-street revenue surplus into Highways Capital schemes.”