The amount of negative reaction to Government proposals re road pricing must have taken them somewhat by surprise, as the spin doctors had to work overtime to craft a weasily little e-mail response from B.Liar. Before I post the text of that mail I thought this useful snippet from reader Stephen on why road pricing will happen, would be of interest.
The theory is that road pricing will go ahead because of an EU law to which the Gov’t is party. This EU directive on electronic toll collections has committed the UK to a system of road charging run from Brussels.
UKIP transport spokesman Mike Nattrass condemned the plans as ‘a disgraceful scheme to spy on people and take their money at the same time. This government signed up to Directive 2004/52 whcih will ensure the entire road pricing schemes in the EU countries are the same and can be linked to Galileo’
‘The Transport Secretary might say be welcomes a debate, but in reality we have very little choice. The fact of the matter is that Galileo has to be paid for somehow and, as usual, it is the taxpayer who has to foot the bill for something they were never even asked about. The British taxpayer has already paid £200 million into it – what a few more million to this government and the EU?’
Mr Nattrass added, ‘Is there no area of life this government and the EU won’t pry into and no area of our pockets they won’t take money from?’
Galileo exists to challenge the (free) American GPS system which is near bankrupt and the only way the EU can afford to fund it is to find ways to pay for it, either out of direct or indirect taxation. Because our Government supports the project and supports the directive it must either pay directly for it, or pay a licensing fee for using its road pricing facility.
So, the future is worse than we thought. Additional vehicle taxation is only a matter of time. Transport Minister Ladyman fended off question quite well on Newsnight but, the one he will not answer is the one we all need to know: Will we see the removal of fuel duty when road pricing is introduced?
Of course, you already know the answer to that one. More soon.