Parking Tax protests? There's little mileage in them!

Parking Tax protests? There's little mileage in them!

by Jonathan Stanley
article from Monday 25, February, 2019

JUST PERFECT. This is a turf war between two cartels. One makes money when you drive, the other when you don't. Doing both angers most and most people in Scotland struggle to see what is done by Westminster and what is done by Holyrood. Any duty rise by Westminster can be weaponised when Scots are angered. More Punch and Judy, it's pathetic.

The only scandal is devolution has taken 20 years to work out screwing the motorist is a nice and dirty little earner. 

The Poll Tax riots of the late 1980s were talismanic of a Tory government wide of the mark in judging the opinion of the country. There were arguments for and against, of course, but in the end it was pivotal in bringing about the palace coup against Thatcher and giving oxygen to the SNP who made the most of the political fallout to hit hard the idea Westminster was failing the ordinary working family.

Fast forward 30 years and we have the Scottish Tories working the same furrow in Scotland in campaigning against the workplace car parking levy in the Scottish Budget. Again we find the policy has plus and minus points depending on one's perspective. 

There is an argument against the practicality of commuting without a car, which really must be the objective, else it becomes just another dead weight on the economy and an excuse to raise tax without the headline rate of income tax shifting. Likewise there is an argument it is a needless sop to the Greens who when not messing about with the education of young children focus their rage against man's best machine. 

Then there are those who say it is rent seeking of government, that it is a dead hand on the economy and it is regressive in that it stings everyone regardless of income. Oh the humanity! Oh the shame! Actually this set of arguments can be simply answered,

Pack. It In.

Where is the moral case for taxing fuel? Worse, taxing the tax on fuel which is what VAT on fuel does. Imagine the SNP saying with a straight face that tax should be taxed because it adds value! Yet this is exactly what HM Treasury does. Year in, year out, and let's not forget which party brought in the fuel duty escalator in the first place.

We now pay 57p a litre of tax on fuel in the UK. While the Tories have stopped any rise in this recently the fact remains almost half the cost of fuel goes straight to Philip Hammond. This is one of the highest rates in the world and means that by burning over three million tonnes of petrol and diesel a year (https://www.transport.gov.scot/media/33814/sct01171871341.pdf) Scotland pays the Treasury £2.45 billion every year! Where is the scandal in this? It is a much higher sum than the parking tax would raise and I struggle to see how taxing a moving car is more moral than a stationary one. 

The motorist is not the enemy but must not be treated as such by ANY party. If the Scottish Tories are so keen in raising the issue of motoring taxes harming the poor and the working economy let them do so too in Westminster. A tax on commuting must be the most stupid way of preventing those of marginal employability returning to work or those on Universal credit thinking seriously about retraining or even going back to university!

Take one friend I know who is now back at university. The drive to university is a 60 mile round trip so let's assume that uses two gallons of fuel. Car parking near the university site goes for £1 per 15 minutes! Maybe at a stretch and a walk a few hours parking can be had for £5 a day.That is ten pounds a day for a student half of which is tax and half is rent to a local authority.  

There are serious challenges to ordinary working and studying people from a Green obsession which beating the motorist with taxes. Until we hear all parties challenging this culture wherever it emerges there is little mileage in attacking a work place levy in isolation.

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