http://driving.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/driving/article3228483.ece "One in four town halls now get more income from charges such as parking than they do from council tax, the spending watchdog says today. The rise in charging comes as local authorities try to avoid service cuts. " Yes, given the huge increases in parking costs in my area (all dressed up in Green of course) coupled with a "relining" exercise to reduce the width of the bays in multi-stories (cue more parking dings) and my microchipped wheelie bins spying on me in advance of being billed again for something I already pay for, it all makes perfect sense. To the council at least. Service cuts? This is of course a Council that built a totally useless canopy to "enhance the ambiance" of the town centre. Cost: £3.7m (£1.2m over budget) Function: apart from a bit of solar power from panels on the roof, providing sheltered gathering point for drunks. Official Opening: None. Became too much of a political liabilty. Name: None. See above. But never mind: "John Healey, the Local Government Minister, said: “Local authorities should take action on the opportunities identified in the report, which makes clear that the majority of people think the charges they pay for services offer good value for money. “Authorities must make more of charging — alongside other measures we have made available to them — to improve their area and deliver cost effective services.” Translation: "Your Central Government funding is going to be cut yet again because Gordon Brown screwed it up and we are pretty much skint. Go extract some more cash out of your local victims. Motorists seem an easy target" Again. GRRRRR!