§ [The Question was as follows:
§ To ask Her Majesty's Government: what procedure will be adopted to give details of receipts and expenditure in connection with parking meters in the areas where these devices are being operated; whether the returns will indicate in the case of each area what steps are being taken to comply with the condition that the net receipts are to be used to provide off-street garage accommodation; whether it is intended that these reports should be presented to Parliament annually, in detail, and under what Vote.]
THE EARL OF GOSFORD
My Lords, the procedure to be adopted in regard to details of receipts and expenditure in connection with parking meters, is a matter for the local authorities concerned in areas where they have been installed. Section 23 of the Road Traffic Act, 1956, which regulates the financial aspects of parking meters, does not require local authorities to make, or empower my right honourable friend the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation to require, returns such as those to which the noble Earl refers.
Broadly speaking, Section 23 of the 1956 Act lays it down that, after certain necessary prior charges, such as debts to the general rate fund, have been met, the surplus accruing shall be devoted to the provision and maintenance of off-street parking accommodation. The responsibility for the allocation of surplus revenue of this kind is a matter for the local authorities concerned. The separate accounts which they are required by the Act to maintain are, however, subject to the normal processes of audit.
§ EARL HOWE
My Lords, am I to understand from the noble Earl's Answer that Parliament is not to have any sort of information about how the money is to be spent in order to provide for off-street parking? Have we to go round to every single local authority in turn? Surely, that will not work. Could we not be given some simple statement showing exactly what has been done?
THE EARL OF GOSFORD
My Lords, I have no doubt that I shall be able to answer any question or give any information the noble Earl may ask in future.