UK Road Pricing : Big Brother Britain
Yesterday The Times reported 'Rewards' for drivers who back road prices. The background to this story is a government plan to have all vehicles in the UK installed with a black box tracking device and charge drivers according to how far and where they drive. Its a plan worthy of the oppresive regime in the sci-fi classic '1984'. Welcome to Big Brother Britain! Had anyone told me just 10 years ago the government had plans to track where we all travel in our cars I would have laughed it off as a conspiracy theory.
There's been much opposition to the plans. A petition on the Downing Street website was signed by 1.8 million people. Apart from the issues of privacy the scheme is accused of being a unnecessary and waste of time, too expensive to implement and run, and just another plan to tax the people more. Check the comments mounting up on The Times article already.
On of my biggest annoyances is that there's already a tax on how far you drive and the economy of your vehicle. Its the tax on fuel which we all pay at the pumps. Its quite simple - drive further - you use more fuel, you pay more. Drive an uneconomical car - you use more fuel - you pay more. The only improvement the Government's proposed scheme could have is to tax us by 'where' we drive. Incidentally fuel tax in Britain makes our fuel costs amongst the highest in Europe. With the cost of fuel hovering close to £1 a litre its little wonder the government might search for another way to tax us rather than take the unpopular step of increasing fuel tax. And when new taxation schemes are introduced, does anyone believe that they will collect less or just the same amount? Of course not - it always costs us more.
So back to the afore-mentioned article. It seems the Goverment wants to entice people gradually into taking part in the scheme with incentives. I urge anyone considering to join the scheme to cast aside any short term benefits and take a look at the big picture. When will the Government listen to the people? This is a hugely unpopular scheme and we don't want it.