Archive for May 4th, 2008

May 4th, 2008

Unwilling Cash Cow

Posted in Other Stuff by 200

News last week that one in three motorists are being caught & fines by speed cameras or parking wardens.

In 2006, 9.8 million drivers received fines said to be worth £800 million. I find this quite staggering really, given that I’ve been driving for 30 years or so & never had a ticket or a fine, there must be loads who have had several.

Apparently, the motorist contributes over £30 billion a year to the government in taxes. Where does this money go? It certainly doesn’t go on the transport system; only £6 billion gets spent on that a year. We pay the highest fuel duty in Europe with almost 70 pence in every pound spent on fuel going to the government. I can remember a few years ago being part of a group who travelled to Eastern Europe. We were able to fill up 6 vehicles for the same price as one vehicle in the UK.

We pay a for a vehicle Excise Licence (Tax Disc) which will increase in several hunded percent in some cases, depending on emissions in the misguided hope that this is actually doing something to take less efficient cars off the roads. And again will increase the tax coffers so the government can waste it on non-transport related matters. What it will actually do is penalise the less well off since those who can afford gas guslers can either afford to pay the increases or can simply buy a different car whereas the poorer motorist will be forced to find the extra money for car tax or just not pay it at all & the government will criminalise them.

We have to pay congestion charges when going into London. Other cities have plans to introduce them. I have no idea whether congestion is reduced as a result of these charges but I suspect that the cash raised is spent on non-transport related stuff as is the rest of the funds the motorist adds to the economy.

Petrol prices have shot up and are at the highest levels. We now pay about £1.10 for a litre. The government could reduce the levsl of tax it takes by a few pence or not raise it with every budget but it is quite happy to take increased revenue.

We paid over £1.2 billion in parking fines last year which equates to £20 for every man, woman & child in the country. And this is not to mention the millions we pay in parking fees to the local councils & hospitals which are simply revenue generators. The government in introducing more surveillance cmeras specifically to target the motorist & make it easier to catch them breaking the laws so they can wring the next drop of cash from them without having to do any actual work.

Toll roads are creeping in so that private companies can have their share of free cash. OK, they build the roads, but they don’t do this as an act of charity, they want profit.

One of the biggest problems I have with all this money-raising through the motorist is because it targets the law-abiding. We are the ones who register our vehicles, pay the required taxes & fees & fines. It’s really, really easy to hit us for more cash.

As a motorist, I expect to pay for the road network I use, I expect to pay towards profit for the fuel companies & motor manufacturers. I also expect to pay towards some of the environmental damage I’m doing when getting to & from work & other essential journeys. I don’t expect to pay towards the myriad of other things my car-cash goes towards simply because I run a car. And I’m fed up to the back teeth of having to fork out left, right & centre.