What is it about this government? Do they have a pathological hatred
of the motor car? Do they think they can do anything and just call
it ‘environmental measures’? So what is the latest crackpot scheme
that their thinktanks have come up with? In the first place they are
implementing tolls on motorways in the very near future to try and reduce
congestion. So what will happen – people who don’t want to pay the
toll will avoid those roads. A success you might think as it reduces
congestion on the toll motorway. But, and here we see the real reason
for it, they are considering charging on all roads – even quiet country
roads that aren’t congested. So it isn’t to reduce congestion, it’s
to fleece the poor bloody motorist yet again.
A year ago news was leaked of a radical plan commissioned by Darling Alistair
(who clearly hates cars as much as Ken Livingstone) to deal with congestion
in London and the South East. But the authors of the report go even
further and want to charge every car for every mile on every road across
the country from 2011 – and that is only 8 years away. Obviously each
car would have to be fitted with electronic gizmos so they can be tracked.
Obviously no cars have these fitted at the moment and many wouldn’t have
them fitted by then. Problem? Not to this bunch of lawyers who ‘run’
(for ‘run’ read ‘destroy’) the country – the solution is simple . Create
another law. Yet another stick with which the police can beat the hapless
motorist (and I’ll have more to say about that later in a forthcoming 'rant').
Is this measure to beat congestion? Excuse my cynicism but with this
bunch of highwaymen in control I fear it is just another measure to raise
coffers for the fattest cats of all who as well as creating mounds of red
tape and new regulations along with armies of useless bureaucrats to deal
with it, stick their snouts ever deeper into the trough.
So what will it cost? A year ago they were talking of an average
of 10.5p per mile at normal times to 14p (0r even 20p) per mile at rush
hour on the most congested roads. So why, if this came out a year
ago, am I writing now? Well, I had intended to start this ‘rants’
column and when this ‘pay-to-drive’ tax hit the news again this week, I
felt the time was right because the figures have fallen – now they are talking
about an average of 16p per mile in cities and 1.6p per mile in the country,
so I see this is part of the softening up process. 1-6 p per mile doesn’t
sound too bad does it (if you say it quickly) but it will soon mount
up and, I’m sure you’ve seen it too, it will very soon rise above the rate
of inflation. Doing a quick calculation we can see that a city driver
doing 10,000 miles per year would spend £1600 more in motoring tax.
Someone using only country roads would pay £160 more. But who
only uses those roads? What are the fees for the motorways?
And can’t they see how this will hit business?
Life is faster now than it used to be. Let’s face it – public transport
is still totally and utterly crap. Planning a number of important
journeys by public transport could tax the best military planners and takes
you twice as long (and can cost more). The car is central to our lives
and our way of life. If you live in the country you cannot exist without
a car, even less so if you have anyone ill or elderly to look after.
Let me leave you with some figures – the reports authors say that
a token charge could be levied on rural roads at the dead of night (big deal)
– but then by the same token they can rack the charge up if there is congestion.
The figure of £1.50 per mile has been mentioned. Ouch – to be charged
£1.50 per mile for the benefit of sitting in a traffic jam! If
this were to get off the ground it has the potential to raise £16 billion
per year. A massive 57% more than we would pay in fuel duty and VAT.
And I don’t believe for one minute that these funds would provide us with
a state of the art public transport system that works!
We will all be worse off if this ridiculous idea gets off the ground.
Only the wealthy (and that will include politicians) will be able to afford
to drive, prices of all goods will increase - which of course
will mean yet more income for the government through VAT). I foresee
This article also appeared on www.nakedchassis.com