For whom the road tolls

 

          I will return to this topic when we hear more of the government’s plans. Suffice it to say the governemnt’s scheme is not my scheme. That may come as a a great relief to some of you, who say you prefer government monopoly rationing and provision of roads, paid for by high taxes on motorists.   My scheme began with the abolition of Vehicle Excise Duty, and replaced that with tolls that leave average motorway users better off. The government’s scheme keeps VED, and allows private companies to share that revenue for the purpose of maintaining and improving the highway. The government rules out tolls on exisiting capacity, but would use them for new highway. We will need to explore the details and seek to influence the options, as I understand the aim is to commission work on a scheme, not to go straight to a worked out proposal.

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114 Comments

  1. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted March 19, 2012 at 8:36 am | Permalink

    Another policy released prematurely without proper consideration or detail. I have just listened to the most unimpressive Matthew Hancock MP ( was he really formerly Osborne’s advisor ?) on Today failing to explain how this scheme would work. He likened it to privatisation of the water industry – rather strange to give this as a good example when there are problems with drought in the South East and East Anglia. To most people it will seem that either the taxpayer and road users will be fleeced or their pension funds will be raided and put at risk by a government which has run out of money but won’t stop spending. This sounds like another idea which will be killed at birth given the incompetenet way in which it has been announced.

  2. Robert K
    Posted March 19, 2012 at 8:43 am | Permalink

    A truly private scheme would keep the funds that flow from motorists, that currently come in the form of VED and fuel duty etc, to the provider. I reckon VED and fuel duty should be scrapped, the main roads should privatised and road pricing introduced.

    • norman
      Posted March 19, 2012 at 9:55 am | Permalink

      Are the roads going to be paved with gold? The duty the government extorts from road users in the form of VAT on car sales, fuel duty, VAT on car repairs and maintenance, VAT on fuel, road tax would allow us to do so.

      I dread to think of the amount of tax an average haulage firm pays in a year, it must be a staggering amount and that’s before you count the time wasted complying with regulations.

      • lifelogic
        Posted March 19, 2012 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

        As you say “time wasted complying with regulations” and also wasted sitting in pointless traffic jams due to poor roads and bad maintenance and management.

    • lifelogic
      Posted March 19, 2012 at 10:36 am | Permalink

      Agreed – There is no reason to tax fuel for motorist yet they let you burn it, almost tax free heating their homes and causing the same emissions. The big problem with roads is that everyone wants to go at the same time on the same roads and nothing stops them but the huge delays. With trains and flights you have to book. Road pricing is the solution with good electronics and so all the toll people can then get a more useful job too. Deter by price not damaging delays. The the money can provide better roads.

      The electronics could tie in with insurance too in order to price insurance more efficiently too and share costs. And keep the uninsured off the roads.

      And get rid of scam whiplash and no win no fee rackets too.

  3. PeterE
    Posted March 19, 2012 at 8:55 am | Permalink

    And if new roads are tolled (like the M6 Toll) then the wider economic benefits they deliver will be much reduced.

    • lifelogic
      Posted March 19, 2012 at 10:37 am | Permalink

      Not if the tolls go to provide better roads or similar.

      • Mark
        Posted March 20, 2012 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

        Do you use the M6 or M6 toll? I’d doubt it from your comment.

        • Bazman
          Posted March 20, 2012 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

          Just wait until he actually has to pay to drive somewhere.

      • alan jutson
        Posted March 20, 2012 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

        Lifelogic

        Thought the M6 toll road was losing money, that will not give a good return on any pension fund investment ?

  4. Helen
    Posted March 19, 2012 at 8:55 am | Permalink

    We already pay tolls in England, whereas Scotland is toll free. How then can their higher transport funding be justified? Clearly the british can’t impose road tolls on anyone other than the English.

    Give each nation the same transport funding as England receives per head of population and watch the savings mount up for the Treasury. Then do the same with Health, education, etc. That’s before anyone starts talking about raising more taxes from the English in any other sphere.

  5. Iain
    Posted March 19, 2012 at 8:57 am | Permalink

    “For whom the road tolls”

    It tolls for Cameron.

    He got burnt over trying to sell off English forests, he has now got himself into a car crash trying to sell off English roads (probably to the Chinese).

    The scheme so far outlined is quite bizarre. He plans to give companies money run our roads, possibly in line with the use the roads get. Isn’t that the same as hypothication ? So why bother with privatising our roads, just make sure more of our money that is raised as road taxes go to the modernisation of our roads.

    In addition, we also hear it will be cash efficient, yet the very day he is proposing this, he is going to do the reverse by having the tax payer tax take on board the Post Office pension liability, to spend now and have our children pay later.

    It also begs the question if this is such an all fired guaranteed success, where English motorists get fleeced, how is this money going to be separated in the Treasury so the results go to England, and not given to the Scots as more bribes.

    And finally if we are in such desperate straits with our infrastructure as it is , why are they spending what little resources we have on HS2 rather than modernising the roads?

    • lifelogic
      Posted March 19, 2012 at 7:30 pm | Permalink

      Tolls on new roads with the existing road free, as the government seem to propose, will not work. It is like selling bread is one shop and giving it away in the shop next door. I assume that is just a ruse (lie?) to get it through. Then they will charge for both. They should charge on all but then lower the other taxes to compensate (but I do not suppose they will do much lowering)

      • alan jutson
        Posted March 20, 2012 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

        lifelogic

        You simply do not spend any money repairing the “free roads”, that drives people to use the newer ones and pay again in tolls.

        As I said when John produced his ideas a few weeks ago, the government will never reduce taxation, just increase it , never thought I would be proved so right so soon.

        VED, Fuel Tax and Tolls. Oh and tax on Insurance as well.

        Then parking fees rise, parking fines rise, increase in speed camera’s and fines, congestion charges, which will soon be in a town near everyone.

    • APL
      Posted March 20, 2012 at 8:33 am | Permalink

      JR: ” tolls ”

      Let us not forget that this whole thing may be inspired by the European Union. They have build an expensive GPS system, Galileo duplicating the free for peaceful use American GPS system at enormous expense.

      And now they want generate income from it, stand by for mandated Galileo GPS systems in all European Union vehicles.

      This piece could have been titled.

      ‘Road tolls and the thin end of the wedge. Tory duplicity and the European Union’.

      Reply: The EU may well favour tolls, and may have designated roads like the A14 as important highways. That does not mean the current government initiative comes from Brussels. If it was mandated by an EU regulation or Directive I would be the first to complain about such interference in our affairs.

      • APL
        Posted March 20, 2012 at 9:40 am | Permalink

        JR: “That does not mean the current government initiative comes from Brussels.”

        You always say that. Each time we delve a little into a subject, behind the scenes there is a nacient covert EU policy dictating the shots.

        Rail Privitisation, carried out in accord with European Union directives.

        the Useless HS2 will not be the modern high tech fast system it could be because the EU dictates it must be compatible with the existing EU cross channel route and link up to the EUs TENS system.

        Now, road tolls are nothing to do with the EU gov! Move along there nothing to see here.

        This is how you keep the EU out of British domestic politics.

        Reply: That’s a good one! I regularly highlight the excessiuve powers of the EU. However, there is a big difference between something the UK has to do because the EU says so, and something the UK chooses to do which the EU then includes in one of its documents. The UK is free to have tolls or not have tolls.

      • Mark
        Posted March 20, 2012 at 2:20 pm | Permalink
        • alan jutson
          Posted March 20, 2012 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

          Mark

          Why does this not surprise me !

        • Mark
          Posted March 20, 2012 at 7:24 pm | Permalink

          The EU has created a framework to encourage Member States to use taxation and transport infrastructure charging in the most effective and fair manner in order to promote the ‘user pays’ principle, important to maintain and develop the trans-European infrastructure network, and the ‘polluter pays’ principle, as enshrined in the treaties.

          Road charging can also be a useful instrument to generate new sources of revenue to help develop Europe’s vital infrastructure, as well as cleaner and less energy consuming modes of transport.

          The rules on charging for the use of infrastructure harmonise across the EU the methods to define the maximum rates applicable and the technical standards of the electronic toll systems used to levy such charges, while the rules on vehicle and fuel taxation fix minimum values.

          What does it take to move from an EU supported framework to a Directive?

          Reply: It takes a load of weak states to vote Yes to such a bad and intrusive idea.

        • APL
          Posted March 21, 2012 at 8:49 am | Permalink

          Mark: “Here’s the EU policy.”

          Well, you could have knocked me down with a feather.

          But don’t worry, John Redwood, who would like to change the chains that the EU binds us with, to prettier looking chains, John Redwood says it’s just a coincidence that there happens to be a EU policy document acting as a blueprint for the new UK government scheme.

          The fact is, our political class have bought into the ‘Ever closer Union’ philosophy of the EU. Whenever there is a policy goal of the European Union, the UK policy goal mimics the basics of the policy, but it wasn’t dictated by the European Union Oh, no!, we did it ourselves.

          A fundamentally dishonest policy and entirely the responsibility of the British Political class. Unless we change THEM, our self determination and autonomy will continue to be eroded.

          Reply: Carry on misrepresenting. I want to negotiate a new relationship based on trade and friendship, not on Brussels government. I have no wish to still be in chains.

          • APL
            Posted March 21, 2012 at 9:05 am | Permalink

            Quote: “important to maintain and develop the trans-European infrastructure network, and the ‘polluter pays’ principle, as enshrined in the treaties.

            Whoops!

          • APL
            Posted March 21, 2012 at 9:11 am | Permalink

            Quote: “ as enshrined in the treaties.

            Just to hammer the point home. The UK government is already compelled by the constraints of the established European Union treaties, to introduce road tolls.

            Now for whatever reason, John Redwood wishes to deny the fact, that the obligation he and his colleagues voted through Parliament, really doesn’t exist!

          • APL
            Posted March 21, 2012 at 9:45 am | Permalink

            APL: ” .. really doesn’t exists!”

  6. zorro
    Posted March 19, 2012 at 9:04 am | Permalink

    I was commenting on the irony of Cameron choosing to major on roads on the previous blog. I could live with your road policy as long as VED was abolished and taxes cut. Cameron has no intention of doing that, he just wants to suck more taxes to pay for his silly spending and green bling.

    Zorro

    • lifelogic
      Posted March 19, 2012 at 10:38 am | Permalink

      I suspect you are right re Cameron.

    • lifelogic
      Posted March 19, 2012 at 7:33 pm | Permalink

      Indeed “tax borrow and waste & say one thing do the opposite” these seems to be his approach to government and leadership.

      • Bazman
        Posted March 20, 2012 at 6:13 pm | Permalink

        How about cut tax and waste policies. Giving the rich more money to stash abroad saving up to leave as hey cannot get a job abroad. Thought of that?

  7. lifelogic
    Posted March 19, 2012 at 9:17 am | Permalink

    The main thing is to get the money to the road providers/maintainers in a way that actually encourages them to provide good efficient roads. The details need to be got right.

    We also need to get the money to those who provide good, efficient, medical care. Both roads and the NHS are absurd tax, waste, ration and queue systems and both fail to work for the same reason. They cost the country a fortune in wasted time, wasted money and poor, delayed & rationed roads & health care.

    • uanime5
      Posted March 19, 2012 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

      Given the private companies have resulted in the high rail fares, electricity prices, and water prices while providing poor services and demanding subsidies expect the same to happen if roads and hospitals are sold to private companies. The private sector is simply too inept to run these industries.

      • APL
        Posted March 20, 2012 at 8:43 am | Permalink

        uanime5: “Given the private companies have resulted in the high rail fares, electricity prices, ”

        It’s not a given.

        In the first instance the rail system was subsidized by government before privatization and is still subsidized now. We don’t know the true cost of a rail ticket, nor have we any idea what the true cost has been since the end of the last war.

        Secondly, the cost of electricity is not high because of privatization, we have had a very long period of low electricity prices. It is largely due to the feed in tariffs that are being imposed by government that the cost of electricity has risen.

        unami5: “water prices while providing poor services and”

        Once again I disagree. I have not lost water supply for more than four or five hours in the last twenty years. I think that excellent service.

        By the way, although the electricity supply has been more intermittent, even so, it has had a 99% continuous supply over 20 years, at a back of an envelope estimate.

        So the water and electricity supply companies actually are very good at what they do, the costs and charges fall at the door of the government.

        • Bazman
          Posted March 20, 2012 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

          An apologist stance and pretty much laughable.We are going to repeat the expensive drought ridden services. Just wait and see. It is a given. There will be expensive toll toads for rich drivers subsidised by the rest of the motorists. This I do believe.

        • uanime5
          Posted March 20, 2012 at 8:41 pm | Permalink

          Given that there is a hosepipe ban in some areas because of low water levels and some water companies lose 30% of their water through leaks I feel that the water industry could do better.

          • APL
            Posted March 20, 2012 at 11:10 pm | Permalink

            uanime5: “I feel that the water industry could do better.”

            Indeed they could.

            But nationalizing them won’t improve matters.

  8. Old Albion
    Posted March 19, 2012 at 9:34 am | Permalink

    If it’s an idea that comes from government. It has one purpose………tax raising.

    • Bob
      Posted March 19, 2012 at 11:18 pm | Permalink

      Rest assured that this initiative will be the thin end of the wedge.
      Once they establish a new way to get money (like vat), it’s then just a case of ratcheting up the charge rate, and finding new things to waste the money on.

      Why not just use a larger proportion of the £45 billion raised from road users to maintain and improve the road network? That would seem logical.

      • alan jutson
        Posted March 20, 2012 at 10:07 am | Permalink

        Bob

        Exactly.

  9. Electro-Kevin
    Posted March 19, 2012 at 9:55 am | Permalink

    Unfortunately the roads aren’t being paid for by high taxes on motorists. Most of the revenue raised in petrol*, VEL and VAT gets diverted into other pots.

    My neighbour is a tarmaccing specialist and works for a contractor on highways. So I am given to understand that maintainence and engineering is already tendered out to private contractors and subject to competition.

    I don’t really understand how changing the system will make a difference in terms of quality of infrastructure or expense to the driver. I also fail to understand why the Govt wants to share such a cash cow which can be milked for the NHS/welfare coffers and when there is such a high deficit on the books.

    If there is a saving where else is that tax going to come from ? It’s axiomatic that an untaxed immigration economy is going to have to remain a high tax one … unless, of course, the intention is that one social class is going to bear the brunt of it through a dramatic fall in living standards – and if so shouldn’t it be in the election manifesto ?

    Is it a case of being able to get an instant cash injection by flogging off our roads to the Chinese ?

    If so are we really that buggered ?

    * Motorists are being charged at a rate of around 200% tax OVER the refinery price. Not at 60% OF the pump price as we are continually being told. (H/T E-K Snr for that insight.)

    • Electro-Kevin
      Posted March 19, 2012 at 10:00 am | Permalink

      Correction to 4th para:

      “It’s axiomatic that an untaxed immigration economy is going …”

      Replace ‘untaxed’ with uncontrolled.

      Sorry to keep banging on about immigration but it really is of fundamental importance at every national, social, political and economic level.

      PS, Mavis Beacon is an excellent touch-typing course. I type faster than I can think.

      • Electro-Kevin
        Posted March 20, 2012 at 7:51 am | Permalink

        Of nationalised public infrastructure:

        Surely there should be economies of scale when it comes to the management of large infrastructure over the option of breaking it down into small groupings:

        – fewer directors

        – no share dividends to worry about

        – use of standardised technologies the costs of which can be shared over a wider base

        (If it hasn’t worked on Network Rail then why ever not ?)

        My previous comments were badly worded. I see this rejigging of our roads system as a way of relieving responsibilities. Doubtless it will result in the same levels of taxation but with ever more inventive ways of stinging motorists and hauliers.

        As stated before though; if we are to continue displacing the work force with imported labour then we are going to have to remain a high tax economy.

      • APL
        Posted March 21, 2012 at 8:59 am | Permalink

        Electro-Kevin: “Sorry to keep banging on about immigration but it really is of fundamental importance at every national, social, political and economic level.”

        Of course it is, take education as one instance. Fifty years ago, the justified assumption that 98% of the school population spoke english as a first language, the remaining 2% were fluent as a second language. Today they barely bother to teach English.

  10. English Pensioner
    Posted March 19, 2012 at 9:57 am | Permalink

    The way the draft proposals were explained on the TV this morning, I got the impression that this was nothing more that the Labour PFI scheme under a new guise. There is no reason why the Highways Agency should not be able to manage he roads as efficiently as private companies – it just needs some decent managers at the top rather than ex-civil servants who are no doubt obsessed with filling in paperwork rather than filling up potholes!
    The time you have an Office of the “Roads Regulator”, the cost to the taxpayers will be just the same or probably more.
    The Highways Agency was set up to be outside the Civil Service in order that it might be more efficient – an enquiry should be set up to find out why this has not been so.

  11. Caterpillar
    Posted March 19, 2012 at 10:01 am | Permalink

    “allows private companies to share that revenue”

    I am becoming rather too cynical/paranoid, I see patronage everywhere.

    • lifelogic
      Posted March 19, 2012 at 10:43 am | Permalink

      When Labour people can say on the day of 9/11 “a good day to bury bad new” it is hard to be too cynical experience has taught me it is very hard indeed in relation to government.

      • Caterpillar
        Posted March 19, 2012 at 10:04 pm | Permalink

        Yes that is a horifying example of political opportunism. Nonetheless I hope I am being too cynical, my worries are growing beyond simple presentational opportunities that politicians take.

        The mid-ground used to be a mid-ground of a mixed market model, the make up of the mix affected by the left or right leanings of the party in power. Now though the third-way, neither left nor right approach of all parties does not seem to be a mid-ground, left or right approach. To me it does feel more like a clientalism/patronage type of system. I wouldn’t deny that getting the market to operate where it can drive efficiency is a good thing – so although I dislike the power given to doctors, I can appreciate a conceptual aim to NHS reform. But in general when the Coalition leaders dole out support/opportunity to particular industries or regions I become very fearful. Fearful not only of the opportunity for corruption, or the enhanced encouragement of groups to pressurise, but also fearful of failure. I may sound obsessed with Argenitina, but it is approx 8th largest country in the world, resource rich with a literate population and yet after 5 or 6 decades of third way patronage it is a mess. I fear for the UK’s direction, not left, not right, not a negotiated middle but third way (whether intentional or whether generated by Chairman not CEO PM).

        I will continue to hope it is my failing.

  12. stred
    Posted March 19, 2012 at 10:11 am | Permalink

    I suppose we must get used to proposals for which nobody voted. But this must be one of the most stupid proposals to find new ways of screwing money out of us, so that the waste, generous public pensions and bonuses can continue. Maybe the construction industry has had a hand in this too.

    Do they really think that taxpayers, who have already paid for proper roads through VED and fuel many times over, will be fooled into thinking tolls on hire purchase are a good way of relieving congestion. It will be the thin end of the wedge. As with the Thames crossing, tolls will become a tax bonus and be kept for ever and increased. The toll stations will cause delays, not speed up journeys. Every day the Thames crossing causes thousands of man hours in delays, while drivers queue and fuel is wasted.

    In France the tolls are much disliked. The old national roads are used because the cost is so high. At present the cost of tolls is twice that of fuel for diesels. Toll roads are inserted between free roads so that it becomes impossible to avoid them. Signing is devised to make avoidance difficult. For example at Rouen, there is a stretch of the Autoroute a few kilometres long which is the only practical route. This costs 2E. A French friend asked how much I would have to pay to drive from Calais to Perpignan. This is over £100 now. He told me how much they wished for autoroutes which are toll free like the UK, Belgium and Germany. I remember being held up for an hour at a toll station which was running slow during a holiday peak. The tolling staff seeming in danger from the fury of Parisiens who had to pay 30E and were then delayed.

    Nor is the idea that the private sector would maintain the roads better viable. A private monopoly is just as likely to cause maitainance delays as a public monopoly. The roadworks are carried out in the same way, with no regard for the drivers whatsoever.

    It takes the genius of the coalition to come up with this mad idea. It will make a set along with non functioning windmills in the sea and extortionate university fees.

    Talking of the latter, I learned at the weekend that Dutch universities are offering courses to English students, taught in English, at top universities with fees below 1000E. Also a post graduate student from the UK taking her studies in France for a 500E fee was sent a bill for £7000 because one of her supervisors worked at an English university. Needless to say the english professor was staggered at the cheek of his money grubbing management and bowed out.

    Reply: Tolls are said to be available for a new road, as with the M6 relief tollway. In the US now you can buy a smart card which allows drive through toll check points avoiding delay. This has taken time to moderate because it was a long contribution and I have been short of time to check these today.

    • stred
      Posted March 19, 2012 at 10:15 am | Permalink

      oops. maintenance

    • stred
      Posted March 20, 2012 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

      Is there some reason why this, which took some time to write, is still to be moderated. There does not seem be be anything immoderate or sueable in it?

    • stred
      Posted March 20, 2012 at 8:54 pm | Permalink

      Thanks. The commercial interests will ensure that the toll sections are inserted between the existing free roads. The internet card scheme will also be over complicated and a nightmare to work with high overheads, as with the congestion charge. Please make sure that the PR boys understand this. Possibly they may be starting to listen to MPs and ex ministers with sense.

  13. Atlas
    Posted March 19, 2012 at 10:46 am | Permalink

    … hmmm. I wait to see how this little scheme is meant to work. However I, like many of your respondents, suspect there is a ‘nice little earner’ in here for somebody and that the road user is to be fleeced again.

  14. Neil Craig
    Posted March 19, 2012 at 11:12 am | Permalink

    It may not be precisely your scheme but it is clearly influenced by it, for which congratulations.

    I personally think tolls are an inefficient way of collecting money and would rather have the VED & some petrol taxdistributed proportionately according to road usage with bonuses for new roads. This would leave it up to the contractors to decide whether a road is worth building and make it very much to their benefit to keep roadbuilding prices down to what they are in most of the rest of the world rather than about 8 times greater, as they currently, for unexplained reasons, are under our parasitic government. It is obviously far easier to measure traffic, which needs little more than an IR counter, than to collect tolls.

    Of course, as always, the devil is in the detail and the detail of the government’s scheme are hazy.

  15. Tedgo
    Posted March 19, 2012 at 11:26 am | Permalink

    As I see it this is just another PFI scheme, passing the debt on to future generations.

    • Tedgo
      Posted March 19, 2012 at 11:39 am | Permalink

      Building new roads via PFI is one thing but taking out a long term mortgage to repair potholes is obscene.

      The sooner we withhold our council tax and force a general election the better.

  16. alan jutson
    Posted March 19, 2012 at 11:40 am | Permalink

    More chaos, as to who will be responsible, who will set the standards and oversee it all

    I can see yet another Quango being grown.

    John, yet another ill thought out scheme that has the worst of all options.

    The simple solution is just to spend more money than is presently being spent on the roads, which are more than covered by existing road taxes, but in a properly managed manner.

    The reason we have so many expensive mistakes in this country ?
    We have a lack of government management skills to get things done efficiently.

    In my experience Private contractors (paid for out of taxes) do the absolute bear minimum to comply.
    Just look at the making good (loverly name that) after Utility companies have been doing maintainance work in the roads.

    • rose
      Posted March 20, 2012 at 10:04 pm | Permalink

      Hear, hear, Alan. Our road didn’t need redressing but it was done anyway – in half an hour flat. No clearing up or making good, and no-one came and checked, so a filthy mess to live with afterwards. The parking bays were messed up too when the road was remarked, and still haven’t been put right. On top of that, Highways have an unlimited budget to impose their hideous superfluous street furniture all over the place – despite our being a conservation area. They never have to do impact assessment or get planning permission either, and when they pay for outside consultations they never follow them up. Huge costs there alone.

    • rose
      Posted March 20, 2012 at 10:08 pm | Permalink

      Hear, hear, Alan. Our road didn’t need redressing but it was done anyway – in half an hour flat. No clearing up or making good, and no-one came and checked, so a filthy mess to live with afterwards. The foreman also parked on the grass of the little park opposite, so he didn’t have to walk from an adjacent street. What an example to set his men – who didn’t actually do that themselves. The parking bays were messed up too when the road was remarked, and still haven’t been put right. On top of that, Highways have an unlimited budget to impose their hideous superfluous street furniture all over the place – despite our being a conservation area. They never have to do impact assessment or get planning permission either, and when they pay for outside consultations they never follow them up. Huge costs there alone.

      • rose
        Posted March 21, 2012 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

        Sorry about the repetition here – the internet connection here blips on and off and causes this sort of thing to happen.

  17. Bob
    Posted March 19, 2012 at 11:50 am | Permalink

    The money currently paid by road users is more than sufficient to build and maintain the road system to a very high standard, so instead of paying people to sit of their sofas watching Jeremy Kyle and Neighbours, teach them to build and repair roads.

    The national budget has two elements, revenue and expenditure, and it is the latter which needs attention. Cut the dead wood. The promised “Bonfire of the Quangos” is long overdue Lets make a start with the divisive and damaging Equality & Human Rights Busybodies who are at it again this morning I see over school expulsions.

  18. JoolsB
    Posted March 19, 2012 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

    John,
    As transport is a devolved matter and any proposed toll roads will only apply to England adding to the long list of discriminatory measures already in place such as £9,000 tuition fees, abolition of EMA, prescription charges, hospital parking charges, care for the elderly, why is our anti-English Prime Minister so determined to lose the Tories the next election?

    • uanime5
      Posted March 20, 2012 at 8:24 pm | Permalink

      Not to mention encouraging the break up of the Union so these parts of the UK can avoid all problems you listed.

  19. Bozzer
    Posted March 19, 2012 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

    Tolls will come – it’s inevitable. The EU’s multi billion pound white elephant that is Gallieo, has to be paid for somehow.

  20. badgerBill
    Posted March 19, 2012 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

    Another vote loser. There is absolutely no public clamour for this or any other tax raising scam. What is needed is a reduction in all taxes to get the country moving again and many off the dole that we are having to pay for through our taxes.

  21. Ben Kelly
    Posted March 19, 2012 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

    I can see a case for allowing private companies to build toll roads alongside existing routes (a la M6 tollway). The private companies can buy the land at market rates and maintain the existing route to pre agreed criteria in order to continue running the toll. Service below agreed criteria leads to forfeit of the road.

    The road user can then choose to pay or not and benefit from a less congested route if they are prepared to pay.

    The taxpayer gets upgraded existing roads for nothing.

    Competition is introduced on the route and it is not privatisation that lifts quality it is competition.

    • uanime5
      Posted March 20, 2012 at 8:22 pm | Permalink

      The problem with the M6 toll road is that it’s rarely used because people don’t want to pay £1 when there’s a free road available.

  22. matthu
    Posted March 19, 2012 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

    Okay.

    So the government collects all our road taxes. What is the advantage of a private company taking a share of these taxes in order to maintain the roads?

    Apparently because they can leverage this guaranteed income by using its worth to borrow from (our) pension funds to pay for the upkeep of the roads.

    But wouldn’t it be simpler (and cheaper) for the government to do this in the first place?

    No, because someone would see through the scam. You see, no-one is properly funding the pension funds. So if the government were to start borrowing from the pension funds … that would play havoc with its credit rating. You get the idea.

    So we have four separate entities. The government, the private company maintaining the roads, the pension fund and (of course) us. And we are not all going to do well out of this new scheme, are we?

    So who is going to lose out? Please someone explain to me why this is a good idea.

  23. Adam5x5
    Posted March 19, 2012 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

    Do I have this right?

    Government taxes motorist (VED), i.e. me, govt gives my money to company, company builds road, company charges me to use road I’ve already paid for.

    Sod that.
    I’ll stick to existing routes without tolls. May take longer, burn more fuel and increase congestion on non-toll country/village roads, but it’s the principle.

  24. stred
    Posted March 19, 2012 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

    Today we heard conservative MPs on R4 explaining the proposed toll system. Matthew Hancock seemed to think the reduced congestion would make the PFI scheme economical, while Kwanay? somebody from the Transport Committee thought it was unfair to have unlimited access to the roads after only paying the VED. He therefore thought the answer was to toll the main motorways. Of course, we all know that with very high fuel taxes we already pay about 15p a mile.

    How is it possible for senseless people to be selected as MPs?

    • alan jutson
      Posted March 20, 2012 at 10:09 am | Permalink

      Stred

      Sensless people often select sensless people, and sensless voters vote often for them.

  25. uanime5
    Posted March 19, 2012 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

    “That may come as a a great relief to some of you, who say you prefer government monopoly rationing and provision of roads, paid for by high taxes on motorists.”

    Which is far better than a private monopoly rationing and provision of roads, paid for by high taxes on motorists and high tolls. The rail industry is a shining example of just how private ownership only results in high fares for the taxpayers and high subsidies from taxpayers to ensure high profits for the shareholders.

    • APL
      Posted March 20, 2012 at 9:33 am | Permalink

      uanime5: ” .. monopoly rationing and provision .. ”

      Traffic jams on the state owned and maintained road system is indicative of rationing just as much as the queues in Russia when bread became available. Both are a result of the State doing something badly.

      You are simply acclimatised to the State’s preferred form of rationing. John Redwood will, I think concede that of all the revenue raised by the government through road tax, fuel tax, excise on fuel, VAT on new vehicles, etc., only a fraction is spent on the road system in the UK. The rest disappears into the maw of government.

      You are already being rationed, you are already paying more for the road system than you get value for money, there is already a monopoly of road provision in the UK.

      Why aren’t you complaining about the poor value for money, and the lousy rationing the State prefers to impose on you?

      Yet you complain of ‘monopoly rationing and provision’ as if it didn’t exist, when it is a part of your daily life, yet you don’t even realize the fact.

      • uanime5
        Posted March 20, 2012 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

        Queues occurred in Russia because people were guaranteed a job no matter how inept they were and there was no competition. Queues occur in the UK because companies demand that everyone starts work at the same time or because there has been an accident. Comparing the two shows that you don’t understand the cause of either.

        There’s isn’t a monopoly on building roads as anyone can build a private road on their own property if they get planning permission.

        I’m not complaining about the condition of the roads because fixing them is the responsibility of the local councils, not the national government.

        I’m not complaining about the number of roads because in most towns it would be impossible to build more roads without demolishing several buildings.

        Just because the Government can’t wave a magic wand and increase the number of roads doesn’t mean it’s rationing them. Even widening existing motorways is difficult due to the terrain and bridges.

        Reply: There is an effective monopoly of roads, as no-one in the private sector owns or can easily acquire the land and planning permission to build one, other than a small estate road.

        • APL
          Posted March 21, 2012 at 9:50 am | Permalink

          uanime5: “Queues occurred in Russia because people were guaranteed a job no matter how inept they were and there was no competition. ”

          First I should say I was referring to Soviet Russia.

          Second, if everyone was guaranteed a job == full employment == high consumer demand. Why were there queues. It’s rare you see queues in the UK, especially rare to see them for staples like bread etc.

          Would that, by any chance be a fault of the socialist (fascist) command economy you appear to advocate?

          • Bazman
            Posted March 21, 2012 at 8:03 pm | Permalink

            The queues where mainly a result of the collapse and during the collapse of the Soviet Union. The shops where pretty much like here in the seventies until then. No much choice, but most basic things available.

          • APL
            Posted March 21, 2012 at 9:15 pm | Permalink

            Bazman: “The queues where mainly a result of the collapse and during the collapse of the Soviet Union”

            No.

            Yes there were queues after the collapse.

            But there were queues for basic staples in the Soviet Union long before Gorbi’s reforms got out of control.

            As were there shops restricted to the party nomenclatura that stocked anything a Party member could wish for.

          • Bazman
            Posted March 22, 2012 at 7:33 pm | Permalink

            I had to ask an expert. My wife who remembers this as an adult. She says there were no queues during Soviet times as there was nothing to buy. The shop assistants just weighed their own feet. However if you went to party say, then there was an abundance of food from farms or the blackmarket. It was quite strange.

          • APL
            Posted March 23, 2012 at 8:18 am | Permalink

            Bazman: “It was quite strange.”

            It would be in a democratic state. But not in a totalitarian state like the USSR.

            There you tow the party line, eventually you may get on the select list of folk who are party members with access to the shops that we take for granted here.

            The rest of the population well, they ‘can go ram it!’.

            Socialism, it ain’t all it’s cracked up to be.

  26. Almost Ex Tory
    Posted March 19, 2012 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

    The motorist has ALREADY paid over the odds for roads and got next to nothing back.
    The Government is effectively trying to introduce new and extra taxation.

    It is high time the Tax payers Alliance put up independent candidates in Parliament with the simple issue of no new Taxation and a commitment to reduce the tax take % of GDP year on year to say 35%.

    Enough is enough. Can anyone see this being tolerated in the US – no way.

    • uanime5
      Posted March 20, 2012 at 8:10 pm | Permalink

      The US does have toll roads, though they only cost 25 cents.

      • Mark
        Posted March 20, 2012 at 11:01 pm | Permalink

        I don’ t think you know anything much about US toll roads (and freeways and HOV lanes). I can assure you that most tolls are rather higher than that, having driven fairly extensively across a wide range of the USA.

  27. rose
    Posted March 19, 2012 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

    This seems the worst of both worlds to me: not taxing existing roads, and building a whole lot more that will be. Everyone’s going to be annoyed. Typical Coalition compromise.

    Anyway, how much more noise, fumes, and tarmac do we need?

  28. Alan Radford
    Posted March 19, 2012 at 6:41 pm | Permalink

    The national road system bears all the special hallmarks of a government monopoly industry. Hugely expensive; lousy, shoddy product; terminally bureaucratic organisation. (See also the NHS, British Rail, British Steel, British Airways, British Telecom, Education etc. etc. etc.)

    Why are we tolerating the incompetent national mismanagement being delivered to us on an industrial scale by the incumbent political rent-a-mob???

    • lifelogic
      Posted March 19, 2012 at 7:37 pm | Permalink

      “Why are we tolerating the incompetent national mismanagement being delivered to us on an industrial scale by the incumbent political rent-a-mob???”

      Because we have no choice unless we leave the UK – as I have already.

  29. Dennis Anthony
    Posted March 19, 2012 at 6:56 pm | Permalink

    Good Heavens Mr Redwood, although you have no idea where economic growth/wealth fundamentally comes from (as you haven’t informed me) I do agree with you that perhaps VED should be scrapped and road pricing introduced which could reduce inessential driving and save money for the motorist and the environment.

    Road pricing should be satellite ‘spied on’ (by choice) so that if one does not move one’s car there is no charge (even for the insurance , getting a rebate for every day of non use) so no driving to the corner store if it’s just a short walk thereby saving fuel and pollution.

    • Mark
      Posted March 20, 2012 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

      I think that insurers find that those who use a car infrequently are higher risk per mile driven. That’s why you don’t get much of a discount for driving fewer miles (annual mileage is a standard question the insurers enquire about).

      Monitoring of movements is Orwellian. It already is far too pervasive, and creates the opportunity for abuse of the information at scales ranging from private vendettas to mass repression.

  30. matthu
    Posted March 19, 2012 at 8:00 pm | Permalink

    [ Is there any reason why my comment at 2:00 pm is apparently still awaiting moderation? ]

  31. Jon
    Posted March 19, 2012 at 8:09 pm | Permalink

    I don’t know on this one, its all in the detail. Network rail is still a strike and demand fest for the unions. Ed Conway at Sky suggests it could be 100 year bonds.

    http://blogs.news.sky.com/therealeconomy/Post:9392bbd1-e701-40f0-b31d-ae9edc1a65f6

    If we are to privatise then that is exactly what needs to happen, not mini monopolies that hold the transport system and the public to ransom. One or the other, the muddled middle doesn’t work. I am drawn to privatisation by nature but not if it is so called privatisation absent of competition. Should this not be done right then an awful lot of voters drive cars.

  32. lojolondon
    Posted March 19, 2012 at 8:14 pm | Permalink

    Well, first, we got ‘parking meters’. All the money would go to road infrastructure, just to get ‘those who use the road to pay for the road, because we need to invest in roads’.

    Then, we got ‘road tax’. All the money would go to road infrastructure, just to get ‘those who use the road to pay for the road, because we need to invest in roads’.

    Then we got ‘fuel duties’. All the money would go to road infrastructure, just to get ‘those who use the road to pay for the road, because we need to invest in roads’.

    Now they are offering ‘toll roads’. All the money will go to road infrastructure, just to get ‘those who use the road to pay for the road, because we need to invest in roads’.

    Never, ever, ever allow this lying, thieving, scam to get off the ground. EXACTLY as has been demonstrated (exactly as predicted) by the London Congestion Charge, toll roads cost a fortune to police, ie. to check that those who are using them are paying, up to 50% of the toll goes to ‘admin’. Of course, the companies who run the old roads will not get many clients on their ‘new’ roads if the old roads are any good, so expect massive traffic jams, miles of cones, botched repairs and terrible conditions on the ‘current’ roads.
    Then, just like the railways, expect fat cats with massive pensions and huge bonuses for hitting ‘targets’ saying how tough competition is, how they need more subsidies to build more roads.
    And right there, in the middle of all the government money, expect to see Virgin roads.

    • rose
      Posted March 19, 2012 at 11:09 pm | Permalink

      This is all very amusing, Lojo, especially the punchline, but what are you proposing we do about the traffic and pollution which are blighting our lives?

      • alan jutson
        Posted March 20, 2012 at 8:24 am | Permalink

        Rose

        Scrap VED completely and put 5 pence litre on fuel.

        Have a proper road maintainance programme, which would have to employ more people, who then pay tax on earnings.

        Unemployment lowered, young people trained (it is a manual job)

        The roads become more efficient, business is a little more ecconomic, and those who use the roads pay per mile in fuel tax, and we do not get VED tax dodgers.

      • APL
        Posted March 20, 2012 at 8:47 am | Permalink

        Rose: ” but what are you proposing we do about the traffic and pollution ”

        The recession and looming depression will address those two things.

      • lifelogic
        Posted March 20, 2012 at 8:53 am | Permalink

        Traffic and pollution are not blighting our lives they are enabling people to go to work and do what they want to efficiently. Cars have never been cleaner and could be cleaner still. Congestion is one of the main causes of extra pollution. We should deter road journey, when needed, not by congestion but by peak time tolls and use the money to decrease other car taxes and provide more/better roads.

        All things considered, door to door, in the real world cars and coaches are the most efficient, cheapest and most environmental modes of transport. Trains only make sense of a few commuter routes and a few intercity journeys.

        • uanime5
          Posted March 20, 2012 at 8:08 pm | Permalink

          So your solution is to charge people higher tolls when they’re trying to get to work, take their children to school, pick up their children from school, or get home from work. I doubt that will be popular.

          • Mark
            Posted March 20, 2012 at 11:04 pm | Permalink

            Something I agree with! It isn’t the fault of commuters that they are stuck in traffic jams – it’s their employers who set their working hours, and who should pay for the congestion if they think it is worth requiring employees to travel in rush hour. The employees have no real choice if they wish to keep their jobs.

        • rose
          Posted March 20, 2012 at 8:57 pm | Permalink

          But there is nothing environmental or efficient about the fuming jams cars, vans, buses, and coaches cause in cities. Between cities may be a different matter.

  33. Steven Granger
    Posted March 19, 2012 at 9:00 pm | Permalink

    There is, as ever, a fairly simple explanation for Cameron’s enthusiasm for this and it is of course his desire to comply with the wishes of our EU masters. The A14 is a priority route under EU plans for European transport integration (TEN – T). Naturally there is no mention of this by any government minister and, even more tellingly by you John.

    • APL
      Posted March 20, 2012 at 8:55 am | Permalink

      Steven Granger: “Naturally there is no mention of this by any government minister and, even more tellingly by you John”

      Could of knocked me down with a feather, Steven.

      Mr Redwood often says that the EU is not an issue in domestic politics. Well, here we see why! All EU policies like this are cleverly disguised as domestic initiatives. This one, road tolls, also dressed up as a ‘right wing’ policy, to boot.

      That way we have the left blindly denouncing it, squabbling with the ‘right’ if such exists in the UK and meanwhile away from the fray, the EU gets a source of ready income established.

      As I wrote in an earlier post, impose local tolls now, and pretty soon you will be tracked by the Galileo GPS and your debit card automatically debited per mile you travel.

      Don’t expect a reduction in excise duty or road tax nor VAT on fuel.

      The first two are income for the UK local quisling administration, VAT and the toll charges will be the European Union’s bread and butter.

      Reply: This policy is not mandated by the EU – if it were I would be the first to tell you

      • APL
        Posted March 20, 2012 at 10:02 am | Permalink

        JR: ” mandated ”

        Agree, it’s not mandated and why the policy can be covert.

        Which is what makes the situation worse, the political class share the political goal, ‘ever closer European integration’, they also know that it would be an extremely unpopular policy if the covers are drawn back and it exposed to public scrutiny.

        Consequently it is a covert subversive policy.

        A policy of cultural cleansing and under Blair regime ( not reversed by the Cameron administration), domestic ethnic cleansing too, which is what unlimited immigration amounts to.

    • lifelogic
      Posted March 20, 2012 at 8:56 am | Permalink

      Why on earth should the EU European transport integration have any say in the UK’s roads or the A14. Is this Major “subsidiarity” scam yet again. All will be decided at EU level but it will not be admitted.

      • APL
        Posted March 22, 2012 at 8:14 am | Permalink

        Lifelogic: “Is this Major “subsidiarity” scam yet again. All will be decided at EU level but it will not be admitted.”

        It is also instructive to watch a supposedly Eurosceptic Tory like Mr Redwood doing his utmost to kick over the traces of European Union interference with internal domestic United Kingdom policy.

        Later he can then claim, as he often has in the past, the European Union plays no part in UK domestic policies nor does it figure in United Kingdom local or General Elections.

        That is only true because as we can see UK politicians across the spectrum work tirelessly to keep the European Union out of United Kingdom domestic politics.

        Road Tolls nothing to do with the EU. [sotto voce] Yes there is a European Union policy dictating how a particular policy should be implemented, but the UK government has really really done this particular thing on its own initiative.

        Reply For heaven’s sake look at the facts. I endlessly raise EU issues, and regularly point out just how much power has been given away thanks to Nice, Amsterdam, Lisbon and the rest. I also know that the origins of the transport scheme were not EU, and they are not mandated by the EU.

        • APL
          Posted March 23, 2012 at 8:24 am | Permalink

          JR: ” For heaven’s sake look at the facts. ”

          OK, would you kindly identify two or three examples where the UK government has deliberately implemented domestic policy that is opposed to a policy clause of the European Union treaties?

          Reply: If you say it is EU policy to introduce road tolls, then the UK has refused to do this.

          • APL
            Posted March 24, 2012 at 9:35 am | Permalink

            JR: “If you say it is EU policy to introduce road tolls, ”

            I suspected it was, despite the British politicians trying their utmost to disguise the fact, and then we find that provision for road tolls are enshrined in the treaties.

            JR: “then the UK has refused to do this.”

            [exasperation] Camerons’ administration has just announced a policy initiative to comply with the EU.

            Reply: No, it has not. It has ruled out general road tolls again. It is discussing whether there can be further M6 relief tollways using private funding. Look aroudn you – there are no tolls on most roads and not about to be!

  34. BobE
    Posted March 19, 2012 at 9:06 pm | Permalink

    I have heard that since the green introduction of fuel efficient cars that, for the first time, Vehicle Excise Duty is in a decline. That is the reason to find a new way to tax the motorist.

    • lifelogic
      Posted March 20, 2012 at 8:58 am | Permalink

      Is that because so many are registered in Poland and the like now?

      • alan jutson
        Posted March 20, 2012 at 10:16 am | Permalink

        lifelogic

        “Registered in Poland”, or anywhere else come that.

        Why?

        It helps avoid, parking, speeding, congestion charges as well.

        Thought there used to be a time limit on it, but I suppose if you go back home for a weekend every 6 months (with your UK earned money) then the time period starts again.

    • sm
      Posted March 20, 2012 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

      Exactly Bob,
      I wonder if the revenue from fuel/VED is falling?
      1) exempt cars/new cars have ved bands.
      2) new cars are more efficient in mpg
      3) this is before we get electric takeup or multi-fuel vehicles.(Chevy-volt)

      Imagine if people generate and power their own vehicles using CHP boilers in the future.

      Its obvious toll charges are to raise money as fuel efficiency/economy alternatives bite. Will the toll charges reflect the power source used or be tapered to reflect the vehicles fuel economy or give credit against the amount paid via a tax disc?

      Are we talking about the mass roll out of new road infrastructure with electric charging and or multifuel infrastructure?

  35. REPay
    Posted March 19, 2012 at 9:43 pm | Permalink

    Even if the proposal is brilliant I doubt the ability of the government/minister to sell the concept to the public and the media. Policy-making is reminiscent of Blair – too much seems to be made on the hoof. Where did ths come from? Is it as sudden as it seems?

  36. Mactheknife
    Posted March 20, 2012 at 7:57 am | Permalink

    Disaster waiting to happen I’m afraid. The government rakes in some £47 Billion from motorists in one form of tax or another. So why can we not use this for a decent road system ? Oh….hang on they use it for everything else except roads. This scheme will inevitably result in increases for the motorists in one way or another. Why else would the government do it ?

    I heard the hapless Hancock on Radio 4 yestareday and he could not justify this scheme or confirm that motorists will not be fleeced. He didn’t even understand the options in the scheme, which did not fill me with confidence.

    With DECC proposing to spend billions of tax payer funds on BS greenwash nonsense I should ask the question John, why are motorists the target yet again ?

  37. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted March 20, 2012 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

    In mainland Europe, the countries with a lot of toll roads are France and Italy. They are not low tax countries, are they? So excuse me being sceptical about motoring taxes being lowered. John Redwood may have that intention but 10 years down the line, when the next Labour government may be in power, we would find all the old sky high taxatioon of motorists (and/or others) coming back – without removal of the tolls.

    If we do go down the toll road route, who is going to carry the traffic and revenue risk? Will it be the government, which means guarenteeing a certain income to the Concessionaire? Will payments to the Concessionaire be on the basis of availability (product of the number of lanes and the number of days they are open to traffic), with government retaining the toll revenue? Or will most or all of the traffic and revenue risk be transferred to the Concessionaire.

    It’s this third option – the Concessionaire carrying the traffic and revenue risk – that starts all the fun and games. Concessionaires usually create a shell company, precisely because they don’t want the assets of the parent Contractors to be at risk. Such companies depend on bank loans to finance the project’ construction and banks are risk averse organisations, so the finance won’t be cheap. Then there is the battle of the traffic and revenue consultants. The Concessionaire appoints a consultant to forecast the traffic and revenue; its forecast is called the Sponsor’s case, and it won’t surprise you to know it is usually fairly optimistic. The potential lending banks then hire a consultant to audit the Sponsor’s case, pour cold water on the assumptions and spread gloom and doom. There is usually a bidding process, the government appoints a preferred bidder from among the competing potential Concessionaires and usually negotiations continue until there is a Concession contract between the government and the preferred bidder. Then there is a final review by the lending banks of the financial arrangements and financial close is reached. It takes time.

    Never lose site of the real reason that governments of all colours look for extra ways to raise revenue. They are afraid to tackle the health and welfare public expenditure monster. Were they to do so, they would be able to continue public financing of roads.

  38. Bazman
    Posted March 20, 2012 at 9:09 pm | Permalink

    Roads. Dentistry. Why do you all know what I am talking about? Ram It.

  39. Mark
    Posted March 20, 2012 at 11:05 pm | Permalink
    • Bazman
      Posted March 21, 2012 at 8:23 pm | Permalink

      And what makes anyone think the road companies will not have us down as Muppets like the bankers do. If you pay interest on credit cards and have a good income they are unfortunately right. You are a Muppet.

  40. Bazman
    Posted March 21, 2012 at 8:00 pm | Permalink

    What is the government going to do about the absurd and pointless regulations regarding private helicopters in particular large twin rotor ones in central London? This is clearly stopping foreign money from coming in and the resulting trickle down effect which could be spent on roads.

  41. Steven Whitfield
    Posted March 22, 2012 at 4:02 am | Permalink

    I’m not convinced of the logic of privatising the roads – or the railways for that matter.
    Privatising Austin Rover was a good idea because the consumer could buy a Ford or Toyota if he/she didn’t like the British offering. Coal customers could buy foreign coal or oil if they didn’t want to buy from British Coal.

    The success of British Telecom owes more to the power of new technology and it’s initial market dominance rather than it’s removal from state control. Yet people still bang on about how long it took to get a phone line in the 1970’s and how brilliant it is today.

    Any entrant to the road provision market only has to provide a barely competent level of service to turn a good profit – the motorist or haulier has little to no choice over what road he use. If he doesn’t like the service all he can do is write to some useless regulation quango.

    Rail privatisation isn’t working for the consumer in the SE because the train companies can treat the customers like cattle and still pack the trains out and turn a good profit . There is little to no incentive to keep the trains clean and on time if demand constantly outstrips supply .
    It will be the same with the roads – minimal investment to maximise profits. That’s why we need to be able to hold a politician to account if the service isn’t up to scratch. I won’t be much use writing to the chairman of Roadlink who is only accountable to his shareholders. The roads are in a mess because too much of the revenue is syphoned off t and the people employed to manage the road network aren’t up to the job.

    Privatisation of services is just a way for politicians to brush off their responsibility’s. The solution isn’t complicated. We just need politicians that are accountable and do what they are paid to do.

  42. Derek Emery
    Posted March 23, 2012 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

    How can replacing VED by tolls work? The average VED is likely to be less than£200 pa. If you had to use a toll road to get to work and back that would be something like 10 journeys per week, 50 weeks per year. That is 500 journeys. The toll would need to be less than 50P to cost less than £200 pa. The M6 toll as example is over £5 which would work out to £2000 pa. Can we realistically expect tolls of a few tens of pence?

  43. ferrari sales
    Posted June 28, 2012 at 5:48 pm | Permalink

    Greetings! This is my first comment here so I just
    wanted to give a quick shout out and say I really enjoy reading
    through your posts. Can you suggest any other blogs/websites/forums that deal with the same subjects?

    Thanks a lot!

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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