Do you feel like me that we already pay a good crack towards the road networks in the UK? Do you think that paying up to 85% tax on every litre of fuel we use and by paying a first registration fee, then an annual road fund tax isn’t already a big enough contribution towards the roads we should rightfully have in any place? They are after all and don’t forget this “our roads”, they don’t belong to the government.
Want to take that a bit further, don’t forget, each new car we put on the road has VAT include in the price and looking at an average Ford Focus, that over £3,000 in cold hard cash we are slipping into the Chancellors pocket. When you consider some cars cost way more than a mid-range Focus and that we will probably register around 2 million of the things this year, it does not take much work on the calculator to know we are talking billions. I mean, even the £55 first registration fee adds up when you times it by 2 million.
The motorist does not stop its contribution there, no, no, no. Every used car that’s sold by a dealer is also subject to vat and that’s paid on the bit between what the used car dealer paid for the car and what he sells it for. Parts for cars, tyres and even your regular service all chip in to the kitty.
So without going further, it’s surely easy for anyone to see that we shouldn’t be paying fortunes to use the roads we have, or asked to stump up even more so that we can have new roads we deserve and frankly, this is obscene and I can not understand why as a nation we are rolling over and accepting all this nonsense.
Why when we can always find billions to take part in some festival or event and to build white elephant stadiums we can’t fund a basic need of all of us, which is the right to get around safely and quickly. Why to achieve that do we have to stick our hands in our pockets and pay again, for something weave already paid for. It’s obscene.
So the government has announced they are going to try and alleviate some congestion black spots across the country and the scheme involves the A14, which takes traffic from the M1/M6 interchange at Catthorpe in Leicestershire to the port of Felixstowe in Suffolk. A widened and enhanced section running through Cambridgshire would be subject to tolls, according to the Department for Transport.
This, you will not be surprised marks a U-Turn for the government who had previously stated that “existing roads” would not be subject to road tolls.
The line goes that for around a year now, the government has been consulting on how best to ease congestion without “creating a drain on its resources”. So from in between the political speak, we have to figure out what they are actually talking about and it’s not actually about how to ease congestion, but rather who can we get to pay for it. So not wanting and deciding not to pay for it “because that is what we are talking here”, the government have decided to farm out the £1.5 billion project to the private sector, who will build the road and fund the road, then get the money back from me and you by charging us a toll to use the road.
So effectively, the government is not intending to pay a brass halfpenny of the taxes we talked about earlier to pay for this, despite Transport Secretary Justine Greening said: “The A14 is a crucial strategic route for the east of England, vital not only for international road traffic using the port of Felixstowe but everyone who relies on it daily”. So sorry guys, its important, but clearly, not that important that the government intend to pay for it so its double bubble for us, the road users.
My old mother used to say to me the words were cheap, but actions were what mattered and without being political, to hear a government Transport Minister say:- “My department has been working hard to generate innovative and imaginative solutions to tackling long term congestion and I am pleased to be able to unveil what we believe to be the best option for people living locally as well as those who see it as a lifeline to international markets”. “It demonstrates yet again that this coalition government is focused on delivering economic growth and our determination to do everything we can to support delivery of key national infrastructure.” Clearly that’s doing everything you can, other than spending the money that we’ve already given you!
Subject to agreement with local authorities on a funding package and confirmation at the next Spending Review, construction work could begin by 2018. At this point however, more work needs to be done to determine the best tolling solution, including what length the tolled section should be, how users would pay and what the tariff should be.
Funny, in any other walk of life, if you had already paid for something, then were charged again, no one would accept it, but when it comes to roads, it seems as if we are all happy to sit on our hands and watch as this project becomes the flag bearer for all other road projects to come, by which time, it will be too late to shut that stable door.