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14 Nov 2011

We are generally a fairly cool and calm bunch here at The Fuelcard Company, however a report out today made us want to throw our lunchtime burrito out of the window. The TaxPayer’s Alliance has calculated that drivers are paying £18bn a year in ‘excess’ taxes which are not re-invested in roads or environmental measures. That’s an additional £293 per person every year – a significant amount when families are struggling to balance the books and juggle the cost of rising fuel and food prices with shrinking pay cheques!

What’s more, if these extra taxes are not being spent on fixing the crumbling road network or implementing much-needed congestion measures, what on earth are they being spent on? Extra turkey at Dave and Sam Cam’s Christmas party? We could take a small amount of comfort from the thought that the extortionate amount we pay in fuel duty was at least being put back into the road network to improve our journey to work every day, but the thought that it may be going into a different pot entirely just makes our blood boil.

As a result of their findings, the TaxPayers’ Alliance has called for the Government to lessen the burden caused by rising fuel prices on families and businesses, and quite rightly too. In the current economic climate, investing this £18billion in alleviating the pressure on motorists would be money well spent.

The Alliance report said: “Motoring taxes at their current rates cannot be justified by the need for spending on the roads and the contribution of road transport to climate change.”

The excess taxes vary by region due to local councils’ unequal spending on roads, according to the research which also reveals that drivers in urban, suburban and rural areas are taxed very differently. A driver in rural Essex is hit for £566 while their counterparts in the City of London ‘profit’ to the extent of £95 because they pay out less than is invested in their network. This difference is itself maddening because it is the rural drivers who have limited access to public transport and therefore rely on their cars more heavily.

Whatever the variation regionally, the fact is the motorist is not getting a fair deal. Excess taxation in a time of economic difficulty is daylight robbery. Our advice to the Government: cancel that extra Christmas turkey order Dave, before you have a motorists’ rampage on your hands.
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