Tag Archive | "fuel duty"

War On Motorists A Myth Says Think Tank

Motor Blogger isn’t here to make political points, after all, we’re a car blog; but the news has to be reported and a new report has just come to light that may be of interest.

If you think that, nationally, your opinion doesn’t account for very much, then you’d be right. For decades motorists have complained that the government, amongst others, was fleecing them. Drivers feel that they are an easy target for taxation and sundry other forms of revenue raising but, apparently, all this time, they have all been wrong.

The Institute for Public Policy Research (who presumably get paid quite a lot for this stuff) are a left-leaning think tank who attempt to advise the government of the day. This quango has said – and this will make you laugh – that there is no ‘war on motorists’, instead they state that rail and bus users were the ones being hit.

Bizarrely, they miss the obvious. Rail and bus users are hit by price rises from private industries. This is the way of the world – to make profit. Drivers are hit by increased taxation – a method of raising money for profligate and inefficient governments to spend and waste as they fit. Certainly drivers are also affected by increases in the market rate for fuel but it is absolutely clear that roughly half of the price we pay for petrol is tax. Obviously, these taxes additionally add pain to users of public transport as well.

Nevertheless the IPPR is having none of it. They believe the powers that be should press ahead with fuel duty increases and prioritise spending on public transport. Excuse us? Previous administrations washed their hands of the trains and the buses years ago and hived them off to private ownership. How then, are they to be involved in this private enterprise except perhaps for transport capital projects which, in any case, should come out of transport company profits.

The IPPR quote these figures. They say that the cost of motoring has risen by 32.5% between 1997 and 2010. This is apparently a ‘fall in real terms’, as if the government were in some way responsible for this and not motor manufacturers who thankfully have made new cars much more efficient. Certainly, the government can’t be held responsible for the horrendous rise in car insurance, unless, of course, you take into account they’re allowing of the rise in the compensation culture.

Rail fares have risen 66.2% and bus fares an astonishing 76.1% according to the IPPR figures with further increases to come. This is not doubt true but it is because the privates companies involved have raised them – not the government.

It remains to be seen whether or not our leaders will pay any attention to this given that they, and not the IPPR, are subject to the ire of the voters. Naturally, revenues need to be raised, but to make such a declaration at a time when drivers are delving deeper than ever into their wallets is, to say the least, inconsiderate and totally out of kilter with the mood of the country.

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War on Motorists

It’s official. You can establish the truth without help from any other source just by visiting a petrol pump. Our coalition government, so concerned for the motorist when in opposition, are continuing the war on drivers just as their predecessors had done. No doubt they will blame the ‘economic mess’ left behind by Labour. The result, however, is forcing drivers off the road.

The number of vehicles on Britain’s highways is in decline and new car sales are, at best, holding their own. The Department for Transport has revealed that the volume of motor traffic has fallen for a fourth successive year. Statistics show that terms of miles driven as at 2010 there was a year on year drop of 0.8%, 1% and 1.6% up to 2009 and it is continuing, although, as we‘ll see, the DoT disputes this as a long term effect.

Apparently, in 2010/11 some £27 billion was raised through fuel tax yet the government appears not to be in the least bit satisfied with that and will, at the time of writing, increase fuel duty again in August 2012. The AA have said:

“People are being priced off the roads, and it is those on low incomes and those in rural areas who are worst affected. There is a real danger that motoring is being wound back to the 1960s and 70s, when it was, by and large, the preserve of the middle classes.”

People on higher incomes may well weather the storm but those with lower pay will suffer. What price the mobility of pensioners, one wonders, or young families trying to make their way? Goods are more expensive in the shops because of the increased costs to the transport industry. The more expensive fuel becomes the more living expenses, jobs and the economy in general suffers, yet successive governments seem to be bereft of ideas to find other ways to generate income or save money. It doesn’t end there of course, insurance and garage fees rise inexorably every year adding to the misery. People are being forced to give up their cars.

Should we read so much into statistics? The DoT seems to think not. The Department suggest that the reduction in traffic is a ‘blip’ when compared to the overall picture. They have predicted that over the next thirty years or so we will see a rise in traffic of 43%. The suggestion also is that as people become ‘greener’ they are voluntarily reducing their mileage and are, for example, cycling more instead. Hmmm. This is the problem with statistics – a rise of 43% will have alarming consequences for the road transport system which is why we are probably being softened up now to the prospect of road charging. It is a problem to know where the truth lies but for now motorists wallets will continue to be plundered.


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