Travelling sense

Just before Christmas the government floated the idea of charging lorries for road use instead of some of the current forms of taxation they pay. There was a suggestion they are looking for a way of ensuring that foreign trucks pay a fair contrubution for the use of our roads. At the moment a foreign lorry pays  no VED and can avoid fuel duties by arriving with a nearly full tank and leaving nearly empty. In opposition I and others proposed a Brit disc to ensure foreign trucks paid a charge like VED to level the playing field.

Some think this reform idea is a way for the Treasury to get ahead of the rise of the electric vehicle which will eliminate a lot of fuel duty revenue. The government, however, has made clear it is not considering applying this reform to cars and light vans, so it is not the solution to the rise of the electric vehicle undermining the motoring  tax base.

We have long experienced heavy taxation from a mixture of VED and fuel taxes on motoring which far exceeds the cost of monopoly provision and regulation of roadspace. No government is going to find an easy way of substituting revenue from sources other than motoring. Most  governments  positively favour taxing road travel as they see it as a problem rather than as a freedom and an economic solution for the supply of goods and services.

I am planning several blogs to explore how we can live with the car and van, enjoy the flexibility they offer, and find revenue streams as technology and regulatory requirements change the shape of personal travel. The change to electric if governments follow through with this demand poses one  set of difficulties.

Larger issues would be posed if the market took us over time to many more relying on hired in or time share vehicles rather than each owning their own car. Widespread adoption of hire in would mean a large reduction in the size of the car fleet, with obvious consequences for VED and other per car levies.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.

59 Comments

  1. Duncan
    Posted December 26, 2017 at 7:14 am | Permalink

    Of course charging for road use will require monitoring of road use and this, not surprisingly, will involve the use of black-box technology to track and charge each mile travelled. This provides the State the perfect opportunity to introduce tracking technology and other forms of monitoring of movement in the name of revenue-raising.

    The State carefully chooses its target, in this case ‘foreign lorries’, to introduce such technology but you can see exactly what the trajectory is. Once it is established it will be rolled out across all forms of motorised transport.

    I am quite sure if you look hard enough you will find the grubby paw marks of the EU whose desire to control and manipulate should be a serious cause for concern

    The State’s desire for control is growing. In the last two years under this PM I have noticed a form of politics develop that I have never seen before. It is a politics that derives from a soul that desires not the promotion of individual freedoms but of the need to impose change through political control. The use of tracking technology in vehicles is simply another development in the State’s desire to control all and everything and technology affords them the means to do so

    At some point in the future the State will become not our guardian but our foe

    • Paul H
      Posted December 27, 2017 at 9:13 am | Permalink

      I think that future is already here, in some respects.

    • Bob
      Posted December 28, 2017 at 12:23 am | Permalink

      @Duncan

      ” Once it is established it will be rolled out across all forms of motorised transport.”

      Agreed, govt are finding that increases to current fuel duty rates not popular with voters. Clearly Road Pricing for HGVs is the thin end of the wedge, it’s the way all new taxation schemes are introduced, start small and once the scheme is established the rates are ramped up in successive budgets. Look the London Congestion Charge and VAT.

      The sensible solution would be to get public spending under control.

      @Mr Redwood

      “Some think this reform idea is a way for the Treasury to get ahead of the rise of the electric vehicle which will eliminate a lot of fuel duty revenue. The government, however, has made clear it is not considering applying this reform to cars and light vans, so it is not the solution to the rise of the electric vehicle undermining the motoring tax base.”

      Can anyone remember the govt ever lying or backtracking on a promise, or binding successive governments?

  2. Prigger
    Posted December 26, 2017 at 7:21 am | Permalink

    Pennies make pounds but I cannot see a whole lot of difference between fuel prices here and in European countries. As for VED. I had to look up this acronym. It sounded like a nasty car disease. It is. I don’t see why we should infect foreigners with it. Mr Davis could mention we don’t want to catch things from their Ministries of Transport. He has spent the last two years ensuring Europeans once they have got here have a vote, a job and a house for ever. A dose of VED shouldn’t cause him much of a problem to sort out.

  3. Epikouros
    Posted December 26, 2017 at 7:22 am | Permalink

    Taxes are pernicious as they are no less than legalised theft. However society in its wisdom wishes for government to relieve its citizens of life’s burdens and keep them from harm and so for that privilege we are obliged to pay taxes. Government does not do the jobs we give it particularly well. In fact most of them we would be far better doing for ourselves. It does not organise taxation in any case in ways that best serve those who pay them. They tend to be counterproductive and cause adverse behaviour. So suggestions to make taxes more equitable and work favourably are to be welcome. Yet how much so we generally do not know until after they are implemented.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted December 26, 2017 at 11:17 am | Permalink

      “Government does not do the jobs we give it particularly well” – they do them appallingly and most of the things they do no one wanted them to do anyway. Many of the things they do do positive harm and hugely damage productivity by inconveniencing and over taxing the productive sector, diverting resources to usually daft thinks (with current technology) like wind, PV, electric cars, HS2, Hinkley C, Millennium Domes, sitting duck aircraft carriers with leaks (and without aircraft) and other lunacies. Other thinks like “free at the point of rationing and non treatment” NHS destroy better more efficient competition.

  4. Victim of Tax
    Posted December 26, 2017 at 8:02 am | Permalink

    Governments approach so many things with a tax attitude. You wish to buy a company share, “let’s tax them! ( stamp duty ) ( tax on dividends ) ( capital gains tax )…let’s tax the broker too so he passes on an increased commission to the buyer…let’s tax those employed by the broker, his staff, and NI…so he has to pay higher wages and pass it on to the buyer of shares… let’s make the broker pay tax on the building..just for having it..let’s tax electricity and gas he uses…”
    One day, Government will get rid of its bad attitude of stealing from its subjects and figure it should actually work a living….or just plain die! Remembering of course the buyer of shares has already worked and paid tax on the money he uses.

    • Mark B
      Posted December 26, 2017 at 9:15 am | Permalink

      I do not mind paying tax. What I mind is the type of tax or so called duty or fee (e.g. Stamp duty or TV license fee) and what that money is used for e.g. giving it to corrupt governments in the form of so called aid.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted December 26, 2017 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

        I would not mind paying taxes so much if the government did not waste nearly all of it on absurdities, over paid paper pushers, paying people not to work and often just blatant corruption? I try to avoid as much tax as possible. This as it is surely anyone’s moral duty to ensure money is spent and invested rather better than the state does.

        Also if it was are sensible levels as a % of GDP – 20% is more than enought.

  5. Gullivers Travels
    Posted December 26, 2017 at 8:17 am | Permalink

    Stabilise level of population. Make up your mind whether you wish rail of road ( not both, not here, on our sixpence area island) and this will reduce stop/start traffic, lessen usage of fuel, reduce vehicles carrying imports and exports, free up more road, enabling roads to last longer, work out on kind of taxation not a hundred different ones, this saving time and money in its collection. Or just carry on like a government without a thought in the world!!

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted December 26, 2017 at 11:03 am | Permalink

      Dear Gulliver–Apart from all else, driving is nothing like the pleasure it used to be and although I accept it wouldn’t make a huge amount of difference I am in the camp favouring re-instating old, and building many more new railways. As to HS2 I have never got my head round how they could spend so much money especially as a lot, and the difficult part, of the route is still there just waiting to be re-used. Personally I have never had as much faith as apparently I should have in electrification–which to my mind makes running trains too inflexible, impossible even except on the main line.

  6. Circular route
    Posted December 26, 2017 at 8:35 am | Permalink

    When a People …builds a tiny area of standing stones serving no useful purpose whatsoever, and builds them at great human cost in the middle of nowhere and they last for thousands of years undisturbed THEN that same People finds it has to go round them, alot, has to go over them alot and finally wouldn’t you know …finds it has to go UNDER them, alot!! THEN you have what should be called a set of PEOPLE who are barking mad. It sounds stupid but I bet that same People will charge one another for going round, over and under eventually. Plus, make a law so visitors have to pay too, it is only fair! 🙂

  7. Ross Towes
    Posted December 26, 2017 at 8:38 am | Permalink

    Mr Redwood, one way of solving the problem of falling motoring-related tax revenue would be to reduce spending by a similar amount. Eliminating all the absurd subsidies for ‘green’ energy sources would be a good start – and might also make it worth while for companies to build the modern gas power plants we will need very soon, even without the foolishly hoped-for rise in EVs. Can you tell us if the Government is doing anything serious to address the impending power crisis?

  8. Posted December 26, 2017 at 8:45 am | Permalink

    I have never seen a proper analysis of the pollution effects of the electricity generation and transmission losses needed for electrically fueled vehicles compared to those for petrol fueled vehicles. Or for the resources consumed in making the on-board batteries needed to store the electricity – compared to just a tank for the petrol fueled vehicle, etc. Surely it is not that clear cut? And will there be enough power stations?

    • NickC
      Posted December 26, 2017 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

      David, Some rough figuring can be done using accepted sources. (GWHr=GigaWatt Hour; ice=internal combustion engine; icev=icevehicle; ev=electric vehicle; bn=billion). The government has stated icev will be banned from sale by 2040, leaving some legacy icev to run on. But who will buy icev after 2030? – no one.

      Total Electricity usage, UK, 2011 = 374,343 GWHr (Energy Institute/Ofgem)
      Transport energy usage, UK, 2014 = 453,000 GWHr approx (data, assumptions, calculations). Based on: 310bn vehicle miles (DfT); UK gallon petrol giving 44KWHr (known); vehicles avg consumption 30mpg (assumption); in figures (310 x 10^9 x 44)/30.

      This is ball park and does not take into account the efficiency chain in either the icev route or the ev route. At first sight the ev looks much better because electric motors are about 3x more efficient as traction convertors than ice. But the ev chain has to contend with power station inefficiencies, power transmission losses, charging inefficiencies, and other problems. Don’t forget a battery is not magic, it is just a pile of chemicals in a box. Also a chronic fire risk. And both batteries and magnets are high pollution items. You have been warned.

      That means if we convert transport to electricity we will have to DOUBLE the size of our electricity energy production capability, in ball park terms. As well as double Grid capacity. As well as replace local infrastructure (garages, charging points, etc). At the rate we build generating capacity we can barely keep pace with demand now, let alone double it.

      So it’s not going to happen as the government envisages.

      (Apologies for the length).

      • stred
        Posted December 27, 2017 at 9:09 am | Permalink

        There have been several studies comparing EVs to ICEVs and the conclusion is that it depends which country and that both diesel cars and electric produce about the same CO2. My new diesel produces less than 100g/km officially but even the true figure is less than some all electric cars. By the way, after all the banning of diesel cars in the London ULEZ zone, the improvement in life expectancy is calculated to be in days and weeks over 80 years for a person living their whole life in the centre. Also, don’t forget all the gas and oil heating which they plan to ban and use electricity instead.

      • jerry
        Posted December 27, 2017 at 11:30 am | Permalink

        @NickC; Not sure if your ball park is actually a ball park or just Hyde Park (Corner), and I say that being no fan of EVs myself!

        No where in your calculations have you allowed for diversification [1], in the same way as household ring circuits are designed and used, true that theoretical total loading could (due to the number of sockets/outlets) well exceed the utility incoming main fuse never mind the domestic circuit breaker but never will in practice. Would not the vast majority of EVs be charged off peak?

        “[batteries are] a chronic fire risk.

        …and a damaged petrol tank, or any wiring is not?!

        “both batteries and magnets are high pollution items.”

        But so is the entire Petrochemicals industry, from source to disposal.

        [1] if that is the correct term

        • NickC
          Posted December 27, 2017 at 8:26 pm | Permalink

          Jerry, I’m not sure what you mean by “diversification”? However, you may notice that I used the UK supplied electrical energy figure, not peak load (power). So your household load example is not applicable.

          Certainly the electricity supply industry can manage peak load by rationing, either by prevention or price (or both). But all that does is to displace energy usage from the time it is required to another time. That is inefficient for the country as a whole. Even if we accept that, we will still need an almighty increase in energy supply capacity, despite politicians’ dreams.

          You object to my statements about EVs and batteries by citing the dangers and pollution of the icev industries. You are right. But every human technical endeavour is dangerous. What I was objecting to is the idea that somehow the EV is safe and pollution free: it is neither.

          • jerry
            Posted December 28, 2017 at 9:42 am | Permalink

            @NickC; “But all that does is to displace energy usage from the time it is required to another time. That is inefficient for the country as a whole.”

            Nonsense, it was the whole rational behind cheaper rates of electricity, for both home off-peak use (Economy7) and industrial users (such as Aluminium smelting) who could switch production to a night-shift and was thus financially advantageous to both the end-user and the CEGB (and its successors).

            As I understand it, at times of low over all demand, typically over-night, many traditional (coal, oil & gas) fired power stations are very inefficient due to having to keep their furnaces up to working temperature, the turbines rotating, and thus available, all waiting for peak demands to kick in, but until then most unused heat energy is having to be wasted.

            “What I was objecting to is the idea that somehow the EV is safe and pollution free: it is neither.”

            I never said they were, nor do most others, on the other hand those who object to the concept of EVs (rather than specifics) all to often try and use such issues as brickbats.

    • hefner
      Posted December 27, 2017 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

      “I have never seen” Have you ever looked for?

  9. oldtimer
    Posted December 26, 2017 at 8:50 am | Permalink

    I look forward to your analysis and solutions. Ever since it was suggested the automobile should be preceded by a man holding a red warning flag, governments have sought to regulate the industry producing them – often to its disadvantage and sometimes disastrously. There is a real risk it is doing so again under the present government with its misguided attitude to the modern diesel. JLR must be wondering why they bothered to invest £2 billion or more in state of the art facilities and engine designs only to be told it was a waste of their time.

  10. Mark B
    Posted December 26, 2017 at 9:06 am | Permalink

    Good morning

    So I take it that the government plan to make personal transport use rationable. One can only assume that this is to keep the number of cars travelling on the roads to a minimum so that all those lorries and vans can keep moving.

    Once out of the EU, albeit in name only, I would assume the UK Government would be able, being a sovereign power, to charge ALL foreign vehicles entering the UK, and especially diesel ones, a sizeable levy ? After all they will be citizens of a Third Country and would have to obey our laws without recourse to some higher external UK Court, so would have to pay 😉

    • stred
      Posted December 26, 2017 at 7:29 pm | Permalink

      There was a plan to charge foreign lorries for access to British roads. Was this not done? Now it is said that some foreign lorries do not pay the Dart charge because the computer cannot read their plates. Why not have a tax reduced diesel station in Dover before customs so that trucks filled up here and we at least got some tax instead of none? Would any civil servant survive in business?

      • Leslie Singleton
        Posted December 27, 2017 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

        Dear Stred–I am no lorry driver, certainly not a foreign one, but would they not fill up before they got here??

        • stred
          Posted December 28, 2017 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

          We would cut the price to below French but still make money. Only before customs.

  11. Pete
    Posted December 26, 2017 at 9:25 am | Permalink

    “The government, however, has made clear it is not considering applying this reform to cars and light vans”
    And when, exactly, has any future government abided by promises made by a former? Promises are always broken, often by the same administration that made them.
    Road tax should have been eliminated decades ago and the already massive amount of tax extracted at the pump should have been more then enough to cover road maintenance. Instead the out of control state continues to invent new ways to steal wealth from it’s rightful owners.

  12. jerry
    Posted December 26, 2017 at 9:31 am | Permalink

    How would HMRC impose this PPM charge on UK and non UK trucks, there are only three ways that I can see it could be done; 1/. ANPR, 2/. Interrogation of the digital tachograph or 3/. A PPM assumption made upon the (in the case of non UK HGVs, customs) shipment Carnet(s) using accepted routes?

    The first would likely be seen as the precursor to a much wider vehicle tracking scheme and be as unacceptable to the public now as it was when the Blair govt. suggested it back in the early years of this Century. Both the second and third might work well for UK HGVs but both will create a lot of bureaucracy and for non UK HGVs, delays, never mind the need for many extra HMRC inspectors, at ports.

    If the HMRC was to use the data from digital tachographs, that requires data to be read from the .ddd file, fine all the time the UK is in the EU (or subject to it’s treaties and directives) but once outside what if the EU were to change the way data is stored on the .ddd file making it unreadable to UK authorities.

    I can see UK hauliers being hammered by HMRC but the non UK hauliers, once again, being allowed to do as they please, perhaps even ignoring the driving hours laws should their tacos become unreadable in the UK!

    • jerry
      Posted December 26, 2017 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

      Not sure that the advent of the EV changes VED nor even fuel tax, simply make the recharging of EVs dependant on a smart card of some sort and tax the use of electricity for EV use in the same way as petrol and DERV is taxed for road use.

  13. The Prangwizard
    Posted December 26, 2017 at 9:35 am | Permalink

    There was a time, long ago, when goods destined to and fro these islands had to be carried in British ships. Now we’ve almost turned full circle. We can’t go back there but we do need a more robust heart when dealing with matters like this.

    I like the idea of a VED for foreign lorries, a not dissimilar idea from individuals having to pay for a visa to visit another country and it could be organised in a similar way. Why one and not the other? I don’t like road pricing.I don’t trust the idea of road pricing, and I don’t accept assurances it won’t be etended to cars. Far too complicated as well.

  14. libertarian
    Posted December 26, 2017 at 9:46 am | Permalink

    Oh good thats what we need ANOTHER tax… and if you think we believe that this won’t eventually apply to cars and vans you must think we’re stupid.

    The time is fast approaching where the 48 % of us that actually pay the bulk of taxes will say enough is enough.

    Get your profligate spending under control, stop wasting money and make the extremely highly paid fat cats in the public sector responsibly for effective use of OUR money. Stop trying to run every facet of our lives, we dont want it and you are absolutely rubbish at delivering anyway. Ring fence critical public services, fund then effectively and get the hell out of everything else

  15. Nig l
    Posted December 26, 2017 at 9:47 am | Permalink

    What I have never understood is why we do not have a system similar to the vignette in Switzerland.

    • Posted December 27, 2017 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

      Spot on, Nig 1. It seems so blindingly obvious and simple. Why shouldn’t ALL foreign commercial (or even tourist) vehicles pay to use our roads?

  16. Sakara Gold
    Posted December 26, 2017 at 10:14 am | Permalink

    Beam me up Scotty – that’s the technology of the future. I want one of those hyper-fast UFO’s that the Americans have just recently released film of….we could put a 25% VAT rate on them.

  17. Alan
    Posted December 26, 2017 at 10:57 am | Permalink

    If the charge is being levied mainly to make foreign vehicles pay a fair price for using our roads then, at least on the British mainland, it would be technically straightforward to require all foreign registered vehicles coming into the country to be fitted with a black box to report which roads they were travelling on and to charge them for this.

    The problems will come from considerations of privacy and security: not everyone will want their position known to whoever enforces these rules, and not every vehicle owner will be relaxed about his perhaps valuable or dangerous cargo being tracked (although perhaps the police and fire brigade would find this information useful). I also suspect that, whilst we are still in the EU or ‘fully aligned’ with it this would contravene the freedom of travel rules unless it were extended to UK registered vehicles.

    • stred
      Posted December 26, 2017 at 7:34 pm | Permalink

      Why not read the kilometermeter at customs in and out an make them pay by card. Stop outside town for an exit permit. No complicated expensive tracking necessary. British lorries could pay monthly.

  18. Anonymous
    Posted December 26, 2017 at 11:01 am | Permalink

    “Most governments positively favour taxing road travel as they see it as a problem rather than as a freedom and an economic solution for the supply of goods and services”

    It’s been utterly demonised.

    Only a quarter of tax raised from motoring goes back into roads – the rest is a money spinner for government.

    I loathe the liability and hassle of running a car but it’s what I need to get to work.

    My occaisional reward for bothering to run a car to get to work ? I can use it on my day off for leisure trips and maximise its utility when I want it.

    Like the BBC licence, these expenses are voluntary.

    If we’re going to be treated as the enemy then it’s very easy to cut back paying out on both.

  19. Bert Young
    Posted December 26, 2017 at 11:17 am | Permalink

    Duties on all forms of transport are a mess . Of course there should be a “level playing field ” as far as running costs of lorries are concerned ; lorries using the roads no matter where they come from have an undeniable wear and tear effect . The public have been victims from the taxes raised on cars and a different and fairer solution should now be found . Obviously technology will change the development of cars in the future and at the moment it looks as if electric cars will be favoured . Whether such cars should receive a preferential tax treatment is another matter . Public transport will never be a satisfactory solution .

  20. Lifelogic
    Posted December 26, 2017 at 11:31 am | Permalink

    “Most governments positively favour taxing road travel as they see it as a problem rather than as a freedom and an economic solution for the supply of goods and services.”

    But why do they think this it is not rational it is the green crap religion? There is nothing more moral about catching a bus, train or bike to work they are not greener in CO2 terms (in general door to door). They are usually far less efficient, less flexible, slower, inconvenient and more expensive. This despite the huge tax & subsidy advantages of public transport.

    Use the money taxed off car/truck users to get some decent road capacity so they do not unproductively sit in traffic jams all the time. That would help productivity hugely. Get rid of subsidies for public transport and see what the real “full fare” demand for them is? Do the same for the dire NHS and schools and give education vouchers out that you can top up.

    Road charging for cars (and scrapping the other taxes) does however make sense as you can charge more for peak times to even out the flows (Perhaps this is why it had been ruled out by this government). So long as the money is actually used to improve the roads, over passes, bridges, junctions and the likes. Plus perhaps you get a refund if stuck in a jam for too long!

    The government had generally consider a road improvement to be a mugging bus land camera, blocking the roads, anti car traffic lights or multi-coloured tarmac and bike signs!

  21. Posted December 26, 2017 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

    Every time I see a mention of electric vehicles, I like to ask a simple question – “Where is the electricity going to come from?”
    Apparently the average electric car takes a load of about 3kW and takes about 8 or 9 hours to charge, that’s a lot of electricity when you are talking about millions of cars. Add to this the even greater demand if we had electric lorries and we would probably have to double the country’s generation capacity.
    When I raise this question, the solution is often claimed to be “better batteries”. This doesn’t solve the problem, it would be just like fitting a bigger fuel tank in your car, you can’t use any more fuel than you put in! May be a marginal increase in efficiency, but batteries are already very efficient.
    So, where will the electricity come from?

    • fedupsoutherner
      Posted December 26, 2017 at 8:29 pm | Permalink

      English Pensioner

      Agree, and what happens when we get bad weather and power cuts? If people can’t recharge their cars or lorries then how will they get to school, work and goods be delivered???? It’s all utter madness. Don’t forget that our homes will have to be heated by electricity too. Our politicians haven’t thought this through properly.

  22. agricola
    Posted December 26, 2017 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

    For sure it would be politically dangerous to tamper with or restrict peoples freedom of movement in their own vehicles, akin to the poll tax. Electric vehicles with solar generation and home battery storage could reduce motoring costs considerably.. Any taxing of this would be interpreted as anti conservation. The answer to reduced t5ax take is to reduce overall government expenditure. As of this moment we have possibly the greatest tax take on motorists and the worst roads and facilities of just about any European country. Registration , tax and compulsory insurance for cyclists would be a step in the right direction. I look forward to reading your ideas on the subject.

  23. Raymond
    Posted December 26, 2017 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

    A couple of thoughts. Most damage done to road surfaces are caused by heavy vehicles based on axle weight to the power of 4. It is reasonable for the UK or any other country to charge foreign based vehicle users a fee that are using the UK as a ‘land bridge’.
    Secondly, traffic is continuing to grow generated primarily by population growth (it used to be by rising incomes). With a UK population set to rise to 80 million or so by 2050 and the increase in road space likely to be small there will be a need to ration or price road space. In principle I think road pricing is the most efficient and economic way of doing this.

  24. Alison
    Posted December 26, 2017 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

    Up in Scotland, and no doubt in northern England, where weather is usually colder, the range achieved by electric vehicles is an issue: when cold, wet, the electric vehicle consumes more fuel to keep the vehicle de-misted, wipers going. So the range is less; in rural areas, distances are greater to get to shops, schools. In the discussion about putting charging points onto the newly ‘dualled’ A9, there is also the question of capacity for the charging points, and the inevitability of having queuing cars, waiting to charge (for how long?), backing onto the A9, particularly in winter (unless the manufacturers magically increase range). So the infrastructure investment for charging points is probably more complex, bigger. Those we know with electric cars here have hybrid cars, which take conventional fuel as well.
    One idea – please attribute (to a reader of your wondrous blog!) – might be to incorporate an electric VED into the ‘public’ charging points – what do you think? Maybe also into the vehicle owner’s charging points?
    Thank you, Dr. Redwood, for all your posts, and for enabling comments. For isolated souls like myself, up here in these overly unenlightened climes, your blog is manna (if the matter discussed is sometimes enraging). My best wishes for a restful Christmas time.

  25. acorn
    Posted December 26, 2017 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

    Nobody comes to the UK to fill up with Diesel. The UK has a higher rate of Duty on Diesel than any of our near neighbours; about €0.12 including the VAT on the Duty.

    As usual Brexiteers are looking through the wrong end of the telescope. They want to apply “beggar-thy-neighbour” import tariffs on the forty percent of our food we import from the continent; Plus, they want to increase the cost of trucking it to the UK by charging VED on foreign trucks!

    The bottom line will be higher prices in the shops; not exactly a vote winner on the doorsteps where real household disposable income (RHDI) is flat-lining!

    • NickC
      Posted December 26, 2017 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

      Acorn, Good grief, you cannot even read what JR said before pouring out your Remain bilge. Foreign (EU mainly) trucks come to the UK with their tanks already full, as JR stated, precisely so they don’t have to buy UK diesel.

      Once free of the EU and trading under WTO rules we can set our own tariffs for imports. That might be zero for food. I advocate some tariffs on all imports with the express aim of reducing the price of imports from the rest of the world, whilst increasing slightly prices from the EU.

      That way we are better off out, and the EU is worse off. As it deserves.

      • acorn
        Posted December 26, 2017 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

        Your comment is so imbecilic, it is not worth a reply. Brexiters are U.

        • Paul H
          Posted December 27, 2017 at 9:21 am | Permalink

          No,//////////// You clearly didn’t read the article properly. Or, if you did, you appear to suffer from a deficiency in basic comprehension skills.

    • alan jutson
      Posted December 26, 2017 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

      Acorn

      Do you think it is sensible for us to allow foreign owned lorries to use our entire transport system for free (no fuel or VED purchased here) thus in effect subsidising their businesses, whilst helping to wear out our roads, which our own home users have to overpay..

      Would seem logical that foreign vehicles should pay some sort of contribution, the only problem is finding a fair system that will not penalise our own people even more.

      • acorn
        Posted December 27, 2017 at 8:02 am | Permalink

        What about UK trucks that use continental roads and get cheaper Diesel on the way back? Have you been on a cross channel ferry out of Portsmouth lately?

        • alan jutson
          Posted December 27, 2017 at 11:47 am | Permalink

          Acorn

          Out of Portsmouth yes, also Dover, have paid many hundreds of pounds over the years on European toll roads.

          Yes I know RN routes are free, but their motorway systems are a sensible option if you are travelling long distances, and other than when approaching major cities, are far less crowed than our own.

          Yes have also filled up with cheaper diesel before we come back home.

    • Anonymous
      Posted December 26, 2017 at 7:30 pm | Permalink

      I we sure that diesel VAT avoidance is translating to cheaper prices in the shops ? And what of the damage caused to the roads ? Who pays for that if no the vehicle operators ?

    • libertarian
      Posted December 26, 2017 at 7:38 pm | Permalink

      acorn

      What are you talking about? No one said anyone comes to the UK to fill up on diesel, in fact it was the opposite . You really ought to read the comments more carefully

    • Original Richard
      Posted December 26, 2017 at 11:47 pm | Permalink

      “They [the Brexiteers] want to apply “beggar-thy-neighbour” import tariffs on the forty percent of our food we import from the continent”.

      The UK’s EU supporters want the UK to keep paying to support inefficient EU (mainly French) framers as well as paying higher prices for food as a result of the EU’s high import tariffs for food.

      If the UK left the EU and its protectionist CU then food prices would fall as we changed from importing expensive food from the EU to importing it cheaper from elsewhere in the world.

  26. stred
    Posted December 26, 2017 at 7:14 pm | Permalink

    Transport accounts for 40% of energy use in the UK. Just for this, if the government plans for xars, vans and trucks to run on batteries we would need all of this except existing electric trains to be powered by new nuclear or renewable sources. Wind and solar have to be backed up by nuclear if they plan to discontinue carbon fuels. One estimate is that at least ten large nuclear stations will be needed,on existing sites. So far, only one is approved and this type is the most expensive and will take 13 years to finish. The rest of the world is building approved designs in 7 years. The UK takes 5 years just to approve designs and starts from scratch.

    On top of this they need to install high capacity cables and charging points to houses with no off road parking on footpaths. Just to add to the bill, they are planning to have us heating our houses with heat pumps which will need electricity to replace gas and oil and much better insulation.

    Has any civil servant costed this out or made detailed plans with hard figures? If they have, can anyone find them? Do politicians such as May, Hammond or Corbyn or the Green dunce understand the problem?

  27. ChrisShalford
    Posted December 26, 2017 at 7:44 pm | Permalink

    Good thoughts: also Chris Grayling deserves a lot of credit for his consultation on taxing lorries.

  28. David L
    Posted December 26, 2017 at 8:13 pm | Permalink

    So tax foreign lorries to use our roads, and sure as hell, British lorries will be charged while using EU roads. Abolish VED and our over-priced fuel will cost even more. We build housing estates which require their inhabitants to own a car, yet penalise people for using them. What I pay to run a car means it is economic sense to use it whenever possible. Our rail fares are high with profits often going out of the UK, and transport bosses get sky-high pay for providing dismal services. How did this mess come about?

    • fedupsoutherner
      Posted December 27, 2017 at 9:14 am | Permalink

      Agree David. Many of us have no choice but to use our own vehicles or not get to work on time.

  29. Dennis
    Posted December 29, 2017 at 11:50 am | Permalink

    Taxing foreign vehicles to pay for road upkeep etc. will not be paid by foreign truck owners but by British consumers in higher prices for those goods, obviously.

  30. Posted December 30, 2017 at 10:14 pm | Permalink

    What a coincidence! In late May, Britain was in the twin throes of recovering from the Manchester atrocity and the torture of a misfiring General Election campaign.

    Few noticed the EU release a number of documents towards road pricing. e.g. Impact assessment on the revision of Directive 1999/62/EC. The aim short term is not to mandate road pricing per se, but countries that have it will be asked to move to per mile/km charging. This will affect the UK HGV Levy.

    Hence the interest from DfT and from Mayor Khan in London. Anyone with a brain cell will have worked out that once the tracking and charging infrastructure is in place, it will be relatively easy to extend it to cars, etc.

    This is a declared aim first made in the EU Transport White Paper from 2011, which clearly calls for compulsion! The Fair Deal for the Motorist website (link on Name) has a well-referenced account of the moves since. Including plans to launder the controversial policy under the less controversial banner of ‘Energy Union’. Wake up Britain!

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, He graduated from Magdalen College Oxford, has a DPhil and is a fellow of All Souls College. A businessman by background, he has been a director of NM Rothschild merchant bank and chairman of a quoted industrial PLC.

  • John’s Books

  • Email Alerts

    You can sign up to receive John's blog posts by e-mail by entering your e-mail address in the box below.

    Enter your email address:

    Delivered by FeedBurner

    The e-mail service is powered by Google's FeedBurner service. Your information is not shared.

  • Map of Visitors

    Locations of visitors to this page