The cost of parking your car has increased by more than 13%, according to official reports.
Figures for 2008/2009 confirm the increase, with motorists paying 1.7 billion in fees, fines and permits to park in council-owned parking spaces.
Many councils have targeted drivers with big increases in charges:
• North Wiltshire's parking revenue rocketed from 752,000 for 2005/2006 to 1.6 million during 2008/2009
• North Tyneside increased its parking-related revenue by 94%
• Westminster boosted revenues by 19% to raise a total of 180 million
Budget shortfall to blame?
Critics have claimed that parking charges are being used to boost council revenues in the face of shrinking grants from central government.
Jennifer Dunn of the Taxpayers' Alliance claimed motorists were being treated as 'cash cows'. She said: 'Councils are generating huge amounts of revenue through parking, which has clearly become an increasingly lucrative source of income to finance rapidly growing bureaucracies in the local authorities.
'It is time for local government to stop seeing drivers as a means to plug their finances and acknowledge the benefits they bring to local economies, particularly in the recession.'
Drivers face 15 surcharge
The rise in parking charges comes as it emerged that motorists who commit minor motoring offences, such as breaching parking regulations, will be hit by a 15 surcharge to help fund compensation to victims of violent crime and sex attacks.
The charge will be applied to fixed penalty tickets issued for offences such as breaking parking rules or speeding.