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Town hall bosses have been accused of treating motorists as “cash cows” after Islington raked in £26million in parking charges – more than double its larger neighbour Hackney.

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Islington Council ranked sixth highest out of the country’s 371 authorities in revenue from parking tickets, permits and pay-and-display charges in the financial year 2011 to 2012 – despite being the second smallest borough in London.

The figures, from a Freedom of Information (FOI) request seen by the Gazette, show Hackney Council raised just £12.8million during the same period and was not placed inside the top 10.

Cllr Greg Foxsmith, transport spokesman for the Liberal Democrat opposition group at Islington Council, said: “Many residents will feel they are being ripped off when they see the council made £26million from parking charges alone.

“Parking has turned into a huge money-making machine for the council. Of course it is right to fine people who park illegally, but some permit charges went up by nearly 100 per cent in 2011.”

Cllr Foxsmith says the council is increasing the number of parking bays, which will bring in an expected £500,000 per year.

He added: “Is treating Islington residents like cash cows Labour councillors’ idea of a fairer parking policy? There is no need for increased parking charges when people are feeling the strain financially.

“This massive cash haul gives the impression that the council wants to generate evermore cash for its coffers.”

Islington pulled in £6.5million from pay and display machines, £6.3million from permits, £11.2million from enforcement, with the rest coming from suspensions and clamp removal.

Meanwhile Hackney made a more modest £3.1million from pay and display, £3.4million from permits and £5.4million from enforcement.

A spokesman for Islington Council said the number of tickets has nothing to do with the geographic size of Islington, but are to do with the road density.

Cllr James Murray, Islington Council’s executive member for housing and development, added: “There is a lot of pressure on Islington’s streets, especially around the edge of the City, so the council uses measures to control traffic.”

He added that the number of tickets issued is significantly lower than during the Lib Dem administration.

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