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Drivers get 'unfair' parking fines

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A campaign group has accused town halls of using motorists as "cash cows" after it was revealed that some were collecting an equivalent of up to £85 per daytime resident.

Figures were made available by 99% of local authorities following freedom of information requests.

But data from the Taxpayers' Alliance (TPA) also revealed a drop to £328 million for 2008/09 from £379 million the previous year.

They suggested that drivers could have become careful about not breaking rules due to the recession.

Of the top 10 councils charging the most, six were rated "four-star" by Whitehall, permitting them to spend the profits from fines on anything they wished.

At £85.29 per daytime resident, Kensington and Chelsea were at the top of the 10, all of which were London boroughs. Westminster and Haringey followed at £62.46 and £57.41 respectively, the TPA said.

On average English councils collected £6.14 per daytime resident.

Peter Roberts, chief executive at the Drivers' Alliance which jointly compiled the report, said unscrupulous enforcement of laws has resulted in penalties far outweighing the offence.

Jennifer Dunn, policy analyst with both alliances, said: "Motorists are being treated like cash cows, but the only people that appear to be benefiting are wardens and their bosses."

© Press Association 2009