THE Tory MP for Hendon has slammed council plans to increase parking fees in a bid to raise much-needed income.

Matthew Offord, who was in charge of parking services for four years during his time on the council, is writing to leader Lynne Hillan about plans to put parking permits up to £100.

The measures are part of a plan to fill a £2m shortfall in the parking revenue account, used to pay for highways improvements which will be more costly following further cold weather.

Residents have reacted angrily to the measures, set to be introduced when the budget is set in March, accusing the council of imposing a “stealth tax” on them.

Shopers and traders are also furious at the new “cashless” pay-by-phone pay and display system introduced and plans to get rid of parking meters in the borough.

Mr Offord said: “I am not an idealist, especially when it comes to parking, but I am not convinced that these measures will improve the service for those of us who park on Hendon’s streets. “Residents and traders in Burnt Oak and Mill Hill have complained to me about the cashless system. It’s all very well saying that Westminster is cashless but we do not live in Westminster. “Both Burnt Oak and Mill Hill have town centres where people want to stop, shop and then drive off in a few minutes – something you cannot do in Westminster.”

He said one elderly constituent had told him he can no longer shop in the borough as he does not have a mobile phone, so cannot pay for the parking when machines are broken.

Mr Offord added: “Now is the time to help local traders and businesses so the Council should be making it easier to park.

“They could do this by re-introducing the ‘Free After Three’ scheme or introducing a parking rebate scheme with local shops, not increasing permit charges and making it harder to pay in our town centres.”