Hospital parking firm makes £9.8m profit despite disquiet over "immoral" charges

One of Britain’s biggest hospital parking firms has enjoyed a huge leap in profits – sparking fresh calls from campaigners to scrap the rip off charges.

Parking Eye made a £9.8million profit last year – 49 per cent up from £6.6million in 2016, its latest accounts show.

The controversial firm, whose annual turnover also rose from from £31.1million to £38.2million, manages 900 car parks, including 17 hospital sites, across the UK.

The bumper figures will fuel mounting public anger over the profits made from NHS car parks and put pressure on new Health Secretary Matt Hancock to abolish the “immoral” charges.

Hospital trusts in England raked in nearly £150million from patients, staff and visitors in parking tickets and fines last year. Drivers can face fines as much as £80 for over-staying their time limit.

Health charities and MPs have condemned the fees as a “tax on the sick” while Labour pledged to scrap them in their 2017 election manifesto.

Parking Eye, founded in 2004, uses camera technology to record the number plates of vehicles that enter and exit the car parks it manages so they can be automatically traced if they don’t pay.

The firm’s latest accounts also show its highest paid boss – who’s not named – was paid £254,500 last year, up on the £209,525 in 2016.

Millionaire founder David Taylor pocketed an estimated £17million when Parking Eye was sold to outsourcing giant Capita for £57million five years ago.

Last week Capita sold the parking firm for £235million.

The RAC Foundation says Parking Eye was the biggest buyer of car ownership records from the DVLA last year. It bought 1.76m records compared to 1.53m in the previous financial year.

Last month the public sector union Unison launched an NHS parking charter which calls for an immediate end to the charges for all night shift workers and their complete abolition within two years.

The charter says hospitals should provide emergency bays for on-call staff so they can park for free. If charges cannot be abolished immediately, Unison says they should be “affordable and consistent” across NHS sites with a sliding scale so staff earning less pay less.

Unison head of health Sara Gorton said: “It’s quite wrong for private firms to be coining it in at the expense of NHS staff, patients and relatives who need to park at hospitals across the country.

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“The new health secretary should make scrapping these immoral charges top of his to do list.”

Backed by MPs, the Sunday Mirror has called on the Government to abolish the charges which can cost staff and visitors up to £500 a week.

Parking Eye says less than 10 per cent of its business comes from the NHS.

A spokesman said: “ParkingEye operates a large number of car parks across the country and its client base has grown considerably over the last three years.

“Our clients’ parking, in areas such as hospital emergency units and retail operations, needs to be monitored to ensure that patients and customers can effectively access services.

“We have always been a member of the British Parking Association and follow its strict code of practice in all the car parks we manage on behalf of our clients.”

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