Parking fine system comes under fire for 'being nasty'

MOTORISTS who appeal parking fines are being penalised by the council through a "clever but nasty stealth tax" the MP for Twickenham said this week after speaking to a number of "baffled" constituents.
Dr Vincent Cable has criticised the council for a back door increase in parking fines after obtaining a clarification of confusing regulations on parking fines that have annoyed and baffled many residents.

Previously, if a resident appealed against an unfair parking ticket they still had 14 days to pay at a reduced rate of L40 even if they lost the appeal. Dr Cable this week drew attention to the fact that new regulations mean that anyone to appeal a fine is required to pay L80.

Vincent Cable said: "The Conservative council has invented a rather clever but nasty stealth tax by penalising people who appeal against parking fines.

“Since the parking wardens are often extremely inflexible and occasionally wrong it is important that there is a fair and transparent system of appeals. Now the council is penalising people who go to appeal.

“They risk a doubling of the fine if the appeal is turned down.

"Most reasonable motorists accept that there have to be parking restrictions and that there have to be penalties for offences. But the penalties are heavy, often for trivial offences. Further penalising people who wish to exercise legitimate publicised appeal rights is sneaky, unreasonable and anti-motorist; the Conservative council deserves to be taken to task over these changes."

A spokesman for Richmond Council said: "The decision not to peg the penalty charge notice at the discounted rate for those who appeal was taken by the cabinet in July 2002 and implemented in the Autumn.

“The aim of the new policy is to reduce the administrative cost of recovering monies owed to the council.

"In the event of a penalty charge notice being cancelled all monies paid are refunded to the claimant.

“It is important to note that the penalty charge is currently L80 and not L40. The latter is a discount that is offered for prompt payment that reduces administrative cost to the authority. As in all other areas the council has a duty to the public purse and to administer that money wisely on behalf of the residents of the boroughs.”
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