Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Gordon doesn't get it

Listening to the on-going debate on whether fuel tax should be increased this year as planned, now that fuel is expensive, and whether the VED on older cars should be increased as planned, now that Labour isn't popular, I do wonder whether Gordon and his troops will ever get it where Green Taxes are concerned. (Mixing green and red produces the colour of mud - is that relevant?)
The whole point of raising fuel tax was to make people think about whether to use the car for every journey. It's meant to put the price of motoring up - get it? OK, there's been a shift of balance in the price of petrol and diesel and perhaps the Treasury needs to do some adjustment in the balance of the taxes so that buses and lorries aren't unduly disadvantaged, but that's not the same as changing direction totally. Flexibility is good, backtracking is not!
As for VED on older cars - since when was taxation in this country introduced retrospectively? Most people don't own older cars because they dislike new ones. They own them because that's what they can afford. People on lower incomes who can't get to work on public transport often want/need to be able to get to work in wet weather clean and dry enough to start work. Maybe they need to drop the kids at school on the way! If they could afford a shiny new, less polluting vehicle they'd probably jump at the chance. So what does the "labour" party do - penalise them. What happened to Gordon's favourite "hard working families"? How can it be fair to introduce this tax increase without providing the infrastructure to allow choice?
When it comes to public transport and sustainable development language takes on a whole new meaning. A bus service every half hour to one of the two centres near a proposed new development becomes "good public transport links". A walk of 1km along a busy road which only has a footway along part of it becomes "easily accessible". When will central government put its money where its mouth is, stop wasting money on ridiculous projects like ID cards and going to war in countries we've no right to be in, and start funding high quality rail and bus links as well as research and development funding for newer forms of transport. Sadly, not in my lifetime if the present regime continues, and as for the chances of my grand-children enjoying a decent quality of life .....
Come the revolution!

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