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Comment - The Spare Pound In Your Pocket

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The DriveWrite Archives British Government

Comment - The Spare Pound In Your Pocket

Geoff Maxted
DriveWrite
August 11, 2013


Schimpf! Do you recognise that sound? You have in fact heard it before. Quite often in modern times as a matter of fact. It is the sound of the thin end of the wedge being slipped between you and what‘s left of your money.

In that disingenuous and backdoor way that governments have of slipping us some more bad news, the Treasury, by means of its Chief Secretary Danny Alexander (pictured above next to a bloke wearing glasses), announced a while back that a section of the A14 between Cambridge and Huntingdon is to be improved and subsequently tolled.

This came as part of the spending review which included plans for some £28billion of ‘once in a generation’ projects to modernise our road system. The decision to carry on with the mooted tolling option was slipped in on page 74 in an appendix in the certain knowledge that nobody could read that far without dozing off.

The AA have already said that this will not go down well with motorists. In their opinion and no doubt in our opinion too, motorists have already paid for the roads so why the heck should they pay for them again? To answer this criticism, the government have said that there will be a non-tolled road for local traffic.

So that presumably means that every other driver who might have to travel that way will surely avoid this road because it is for locals only! It will not be for the likes of you. They might as well hope that the economic situation will shortly be sorted out by the passing of some pink flying pigs (Their preferred option). There may well be some well-heeled people or folk on an urgent mission who might cough up but I think the government might well find that the local road will suddenly become very busy.

The minister confirmed that this very busy stretch of road will be upgraded from a dual carriageway to three lanes either side. This is a good thing as it is a notorious route. The bad news is that it will cost a quid to use it. This is them being a bit clever. One pound, as everybody knows, does not go a long way. They presumably hope that most will say’ ‘Well, it’s only a quid’ and chuck the coin in the bin or whatever. that way we become inured to it.

The other reason that it was quietly announced and is a relatively low fee is that the government is very nervous about their cunning plan. They wonder if motorists might take umbrage that they are again being targeted. The answer is of course a resounding yes.

Unquestionably there is a need for the many congested areas of our highway system to be refreshed and renewed to keep the traffic flowing. Tax payers know that this will cost huge sums of money but they also know that the roads have been chronically under-funded for decades as ministers bereft of other economic ideas continue to plunder the road pot.

It is no mystery as to why that which we all once knew as ‘Road Tax’ is now commonly called ‘Vehicle Excise Duty’. See what they did there? Make no mistake - they might be reticent about introducing this now but it really is the thin end of the wedge. If motorists accept this the exercise will be repeated. And repeated.



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