On a rare occasion when I saw some TV, I was intrigued to see an advert from the government demanding that people pay their Vehicle Licence fees.
It did not surprise me that they are wasting more public money on ads, or that they wish to portray themselves as money-grabbers. That is exactly what we have come to expect from this rapacious crew. What did surprise me was their decision to tell the audience they have taken powers to crush your car if you forget to pay the VED. They showed a film of a perfectly good-looking car being needlessly destroyed, just because the owner had not paid the tax. No wonder they are 23% in the polls and falling.
I understand a lot of non-VED payers are also committing other crimes, and that the car impounded may have been stolen. Surely, in such circumstances, the authorities should seek to return the car to its legal owner, rather than crush it? If the car belongs to a forgetful, legal owner on holiday or otherwise away, it seems very unfair to crush the vehicle, if he or she has had no opportunity to pay the tax and penalties to get the car back.
It sums up this governmentâ€™s approach. Taking money off people â€“ to pay for ads, spin doctors and more bureaucracy â€“ is the aim. Getting brutal with people who do not pay is the means. Viewers were obviously meant to feel on edge, and had to rush out to where their cars were parked to check they had not made a mistake.
Someone might be away on business, on holiday, or very busy when the VED tax demand arrives. The renewal note might be sent to the wrong address, or they might have forgotten to notify all the money-grabbing branches of government when they moved. Shouldnâ€™t such people be treated more sympathetically? By all means charge the non-payers extra to help cover the costs of compliance, but isnâ€™t crushing a car way over the top?
Now we hear today that Nottingham Council are planning to levy a tax on employers â€“ who may make their employees pay it â€“ for every car-parking space they have thoughtfully provided in the city centre. For heavenâ€™s sake! The employers who provide car slots are helping take vehicles off the road. If you rely on municipal car parks and on street parking, you often have to drive round and round looking for a space as they usually underprovide. The employers who have their own car parks contribute to reducing congestion, at no cost to the Council.
If the government have begun to â€œget itâ€, they will veto this scheme as yet another example of how to pillage the parker and milk the motorist.