CARS and lorries are the lifeblood, not only of our communities, but of our economy, and for the foreseeable future will remain so, yet the pervading political doctrine of recent years has seen a consistent and determined attack on this, one of the core utilities of most people’s lives.
Nationally, fuel tax increases at a meteoric rate while expenditure on the road system declines.
Motorists pay £30 billion annually in road and fuel tax, yet only a relatively paltry £9 billion is spent on the roads they drive on.
When compared to heavily subsidised rail, the difference is staggering, with recent figures suggesting just £12 is spent per passenger per kilometre of road compared with £130 for rail – clearly the motorist is subsidising the rail commuter.
Aside from the levels of direct tax on motorists, the rise of stealth taxation has also increased sharply over recent years. The use of speed cameras as blatant revenue generators is thankfully on the decline, although they still raise nearly £70 million per year.
However, the latest attack comes in the form of charges.
For example, locally the Labour administration in Nottingham is doing its best to persecute companies who dare offer their employees car parking spaces, with the vaguely named ‘Work Place Levy’ tax at over £300 per parking space per year.
Here in Grantham, parking continues to be a contentious issue as the district council sees it as a source of revenue, making a profit of £600,000 per year across South Kesteven, whereas the local businesses rightly feel that free parking would improve the attractiveness of Grantham as a shopping destination.
If in doubt, visit Brigg to see how two hours free parking has reinvigorated the town centre there.
In short, we need our local and national political leaders to refocus their opinions of the humble motorist and see the car as a vital component of our financial and social lives, not a cash cow to be milked dry.
By Richard Davies, Conservative