LOCAL authorities have been warned against using parking charges as a 'cash cow’, after it emerged the Isle of Wight Council raked in £2.5m last year.
In the South, the Island was second only to Southampton (£3.5m) and Winchester (£2.8m) in making the most money from parking fines and fees during the 2012/13 financial year.
And it expects to bring in an extra £108,000 during 2013/14, to just over £2.6m.
Speaking after the figures were published last week by industry body the RAC Foundation, communities and local government secretary Eric Pickles criticised local authorities for exploiting motorists and pledged to crack down on unfair rules.
He said: "The law is clear that parking is not a tax or cash cow for town hall officers. This municipal parking profit shows why we need to rein in unfair town hall rules."
Mr Pickles’ comments follow his call for free parking on double yellow lines for up to 15 minutes, which he said would benefit shops. In their Framework for Change election manifesto, the Island Independents pledged to consider the introduction of free parking in towns to encourage people to shop locally.
The council’s deputy director for economic development, John Metcalfe, said: "No decisions have been made to increase parking charges. These decisions are normally made as part of the council’s budget-setting, which this year will be informed by the root-and-branch review and would be implemented in accordance with government regulations."