COUNCIL bosses in Bury say they have lost more than £480,000 in parking charges since lockdown began.

Town hall chiefs in Bolton put the figure at a more conservative £322,000, over the course of the pandemic, while Oldham's dip has been pegged at £577,000.

And Wigan and Trafford put their losses at a respective £600,000 and £194,000, until the end of June.

But even these figure are dwarfed by the losses in Manchester, which is estimated to have seen £3.5m disappear off the balance sheet.

According to the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government,  cross England councils were expecting around £885 million’s worth of income from parking charges this financial year.

Parking fees were suspended across Bury's principal shopping streets at the start of the coronavirus crisis and many of the machines remained mothballed.

An Automobile Assocation (AA) spokesman said: “Many councils use parking charge income to pay for road improvements and pothole repairs, so may be tempted to reapply the charge as quickly as possible.

"However, as local high streets start to re-open many independent retailers are asking councils to keep parking free so they have a better chance of recovery.”

Jack Cousens, head of roads policy for the AA said: “If councils weren’t already under significant pressure, they’ll be bracing themselves even more as they see a huge chunk of their income for the year lost.

“For being so dependent on this income stream, councils are now stuck at a crossroad; waive the fees entirely and absorb the financial hit, or reapply them and risk hurting, or worse, losing businesses that bring in business rates and jobs in their towns.”

Stockport, Rochdale and Salford councils declined to say what their losses amounted to.