Councils in Wales ran a surplus of £10,065,347 in 2017/18 from parking charges and fines, 25% more than the previous year, according to a Freedom of Information request from the Welsh Conservatives.
Labour-controlled Cardiff and Swansea city councils generated returns of £3.9m and £2.7m, respectively, in 2017/18, both increases on the previous year.
Wrexham and Caerphilly county borough councils both saw huge rises in their profits as their surpluses increased by 245% and 436%, respectively.
Meanwhile, Bridgend, Newport, and Pembrokeshire all registered deficits, meaning the local authorities were spending more money implementing parking charges than they were raising from them.
Flintshire had recorded deficits for the last three consecutive years despite increasing car parking charges. The four councils cost taxpayers £1,525,605 last year alone.
Councils have to pay Non-Domestic Rates on their own car parks, which goes into a Welsh central pot, meaning money raised by a council might be redistributed elsewhere.
Ten local authorities have never contributed more NDR revenues than they received, whereas seven councils have received less NDR revenue than they contributed for more than half of the 16 financial years between 2000/01 and 2015/16.
Earlier this year, Welsh Labour backbencher Jenny Rathbone AM called for parking charges to be doubled for the first two hours of car parking in Cardiff, something Welsh Conservatives branded “a huge tax on shoppers”.
Welsh Conservative and Shadow Local Government Secretary Mark Isherwood AM, said, “These statistics show two different problems raising from the same issue: either councils are making money from the people keeping the high-street alive or are running inefficient services to charge drivers simply for the sake of it.
“Although it is right money raised this way is reinvested in public services, the burden of revenue raising should not be placed on drivers who already have to pay considerable and recurring costs towards something that is a necessity, not a luxury.”
He added, “Additionally, those councils which are losing money with their parking costs must realise they face a choice between making them cost-efficient or abolishing them altogether.
“However, the story here is that the Welsh Labour Government’s local authority settlements are starting to bite, forcing councils to squeeze more and more money from the workers and shoppers that are powering local economies.”