New road tax proposals petition

Discussion in 'Off-Topic Chat' started by BIG Paul, Feb 7, 2007.

  1. BIG Paul

    BIG Paul Member

    has anybody else seen this that I received yesterday?

    This is not a scam or brief funny THIS IS DEADLY SERIOUS

    Radio 2 talked about the proposed Road Pricing car tax scheme on the radio. Apparently there is only one month left to register your objection to the 'Pay as you go' road tax. The petition is on the 10 Downing St website but they didn't tell anybody about it. Therefore at the time of the comments only 250,000 people have signed it so far and 750,000 signatures are required to
    stop them introducing it.

    Once you've given your details (you don't have to give your full address, just house number and postcode will do), they will send you
    an email with a link in it. Once you click on that link, you'll have signed the petition.

    The government's proposal to introduce road pricing will mean you Having to purchase a tracking device for your car and paying a monthly bill to use it. The tracking device will cost about £200 and in a recent study by the BBC, the lowest monthly bill was £28 for a rural florist and £194 for a delivery driver. A non working mother who used the car to take the kids to school paid £86 in one month.

    On top of this massive increase in tax, you will be tracked. Somebody will know where you are at all times. They will also know how fast you have been going, so even if you accidentally creep over a speed limit in time you can probably expect a Notice of Intended Prosecution with your monthly bill.

    If you care about our freedom and stopping the constant bashing of the car driver, please sign the petition on No 10's new website (link below) and pass this on to as many people as possible.

    It looks genuine enough to me
  2. Hornblower RN

    Hornblower RN Member

    I've signed it:mad: I've done with a couple of the other petition on the website
  3. tubafran

    tubafran Active Member

    So is that an official position? Not sure that this or any government take particular attention of referenda - did we also get proportional voting passed whilst I wasn't looking?

    It will be interesting to see if the PM's office actually take notice of any of those petitions on their own website.

    Does it actually state on the site that they action the petition? It does say
    "What will happen to my petition once it is finished? Once your petition has closed, provided there are 100 signatures or more, it will usually be passed to officials who work for the Prime Minister in Downing Street, or sent to the relevant Government department for a response.Every person who signs such a petition will receive an email detailing the Government's response to the issues raised."

    I particularly like this one

    " We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to stand on his head and juggle ice-cream" - already has 5000 signatures so they have to respond - that should be an interesting reply
  4. tubafran

    tubafran Active Member

    Just found the following comment from the Prime Minister's Official Spokesman.

    "Asked if there was a secret threshold of signatures that would change government policy, the PMOS replied that he was not aware of one. It was not a surprise that people felt strongly on this. It did not mean that we would stop thinking of ways to deal with this issue."

    I have signed the petition but I won't be holding my breath on this one. (Grumpy old cynic mode):mad:
  5. WoodenFlugel

    WoodenFlugel Moderator Staff Member

    I think you're right to approach this with a healthy dose of cynicism, after all, the current government's record on listening to overwhelming public opinion is hardly exemplary is it? (Iraq anyone?).

    But anyway I've signed it as I think that while it might not actually achieve anything, it can hardly hurt. I'll have to click the link when I get home tonight as that was the email I used as a contact.

    For me, it would mean I would almost certainly have to give up my job, and I'm not sure what I would do. I travel 25 miles each way, to an engineering company who make highly specialised machinery. I can't afford to move, and there are no companies nearer to where I live who make machinery in the same fields as my current employer. I don't endure the cost or hassle of that commute every day through choice - I'm an engineer, and our industry has had no support from government for about 20 years now - hence the industry's steady but scary decline in the UK meaning closure of engineering firms everywhere. There is hardly any engineering left in Leicester now, and precious little in Coventry - and Coventry used to be the hub of all the UK's engineering. In fact 3 of my 4 former employers are now no longer trading - and they were all big employers in the 60's, 70's and 80's. So if this legislation were to be passed I would be faced with this choice - move, and suffer having to pay a much larger mortgage on the same salary; get another job, which would almost certainly mean less money as I would be working for a company where my particular skills are not needed; or stick it out where I am and suffer the government's latest stealth tax. :mad:

    Sorry for the rant - but its something I feel slightly agreeved about - and don't even get me started on the recent sale of Corus (British Steel) to an Indian company!!!
  6. Kiz7

    Kiz7 Member

    That's the future of instrumental tuition in schools down the pan then too. Can't imagine many peri's being able to afford to keep doing the job! I couldn't.
  7. DaveR

    DaveR Active Member

    Me too. I have a 120 mile round trip nearly every day, 90% of which is on the M4 and M25, so prime targets for charging at the highest price. I could use the train, but it would cost me about £4000 per year, I'd have to stand all the way, and fight my way through the middle of London. I commuted into and across London for 7 years, and I don't want to have to go back to that. They've also recently "improved" the timetable which means that it is not only impossible to ever get a seat, but quite often to physically even get on the train.

    I'm all for the government trying to persuade people to use alternative means of transport - I for one feel very guilty about the damage I'm doing to the environmnent by doing so many miles. However, it needs to be done by improving public transport, and making it much cheaper than it is at present rather than taxing people further.

    I'm very cynical about anything that this Government do, but I'd like to think that given that this petition is hosted on a government website may mean that they will at least look at it before they ignore it. :pig
  8. timbloke

    timbloke Member

    Reference to this petition was sent round by circular e-mail at work a couple of weeks ago, which on the face of it seems quite normal, but it should be taken into account that I work for a one of the country’s largest Engineering consultancies in the country. One of our biggest clients is the Highways Agency and a significant number of our staff are professional members (or training to be professional members) of the ICE (Institution of Civil Engineers). As it was the circular didn’t go down well with the Director of the Highways.

    Below are my feelings on it, and are taken from a response I put together to the originator of the e-mail. I never sent having been beaten to it by the aforementioned director.

    We, as civil engineers, read on a regular basis in the NCE (New Civil Engineer) about the importance of sustainability in construction, we study it as part of our CPD (Continued Professional Development) and sustainability is higher on the CPR (Chartered Professional Review) criteria now than ever before. Climate change and environmental concerns are also regularly on the front pages of newspapers.

    The current situation with road use is not sustainable. If the population continues to grow at the rate it is and car use continues to grow at the rate it is there will be more pollution, more cars and more traffic jams in the future than the country can cope with, already some areas are experiencing breaking point in terms of road capacity. For once, the government is proposing a scheme which, whilst being unpopular at first, may prove a sustainable approach to motoring. By taxing people per mile they encourage the "non working Mum who used the car to take the kids to school” (used in the e-mail as an example of how the changes would affect different people) to get out of her car and walk with her kids to school, or let them travel by bus, or car share with other parents/kids.

    I accept that there are plenty of legitimate reasons for using the car, some highlighted above. I use my car as much as most people, more so when going to band jobs/rehersals etc, but there needs to be a change in the culture of car use, I may even have to start using it for work if, due to Yorshirepuddin’s job, we are forced to move somewhere that is not as accessible for me to get to work by public transport. We need to develop a situation where people consider the car to be a last resort, and this can surely only be achieved by a drastic change in the way we pay for using our cars.

    As educated engineers we should be at the forefront of new thinking on motoring, we should be encouraging these new approaches. The civil engineering community as a whole should be setting an example to the rest of the country and should be backing the government; if not, we should at least be proposing an alternative. I cannot think of many alternatives, all I know is that the current situation is not sustainable for the future.

    I trust that people on tMP will take my comments on board. If you would like any further information I suggest you look at, or the HA website.
  9. SuperMosh

    SuperMosh New Member

    Trouble is, by doing this you have actually given your full address...:rolleyes:
  10. BrianT

    BrianT Member

    ...but on the bright side, if your car has a tracking device in it and gets stolen you'll know exactly when it was taken and where it's been hidden.
  11. WoodenFlugel

    WoodenFlugel Moderator Staff Member

    Interesting and valid arguments Tim, and I would agree with you if I could see past my "cynical govermental way of extracting more money from the bloke in the street" point of view. :)

    You use the school run as an example. I agree with you - we have to stop uneccessary car usage and the "school-runners" have to be one of the worst culprits. (When I were a lad I walked or biked to school - it was about 5 miles....) But every time Big Gordon puts another couple of pence a litre on the price of petrol he says its to discourage car usage - and is it working? Well judging from the cars parked outside of the school near my workplace, clearly not. I honestly don't think higher petrol prices, or road charging, or anything like that will deter people that ferry their kids to school every day.

    Interesting that you use "alternative" several times too. I'm fortunate enough to live in a village served by a railway station and on the main Leicester to Birmingham route. Yet there is no direct way for me to get to Coventry. There was, until about 18 months ago, but that service was canned by the rail operator - not profitable enough apparently, despite the fact the train was standing room only every time I used it. There is no direct bus service either. No alternative for me - I have to drive, or move.

    My wife uses the train to get to work. But she can only do this because she works at a hospital employing 1000's and they recently set up a shuttle bus service stopping at the three hospital sites as well as Leicester's railway station. Yet hardly a week goes by where she isn't inexplicably delayed, or trains cancelled without reason. Its also dirty, overcrowded and hardly cheap - she uses it because the free shuttle bus saves enough money to make it viable - the train fares are pretty similar to petrol costs. Interesting that she says the trains are fine when they run, but when there are problems she comes home just as stressed as if she'd been driving - which is usually at least once a week. So then, perfectly busy train routes are axed, and the ones that remain are somewhat less than attractive alternatives to a nice warm, convenient car - how is that encouraging us to stop our car addiction?

    And that is my problem with this. The best way to make a significant change to car usage is to give the punters a resonable alternative. Make it difficult to justify taking the car because the train or bus is cheaper, just as nice, will get you there with the minimum of fuss, and stress free. The problem is, thats not easy for a government to do, and takes a lot of pragmatic and clever thinking about, plus some integration between the various transport networks. The current government seem to think that if everything is taxed to stupidly high rates we will not use it and I don't any of the opposition parties having any better ideas. Well I would argue in most cases we have to use the car - however unattractive it is made as currently the alternative is even worse.

    Simply put, until we get value for money from public transport - the car will be the default mode of transport for the majority of people. Road pricing will not change that.
  12. yorkie19

    yorkie19 Active Member

    That would be the Anglo-Dutch company, Corus, which was taken over by Tata for £6.7bn, would it? Come on Ian, it was a money-making private company (just about), rather than a British institution, and as such, it was fair game for any / all major steel manufacturers in the world, especially when you consider that the world steel price has been going through the roof in the last few years.

    The Tory Government passed the British Steel Act (1988) in order to privatise it, and as such, Thatcher's legacy is further 'enhanced' with another once nationalised British industry being swallowed up by the private sector once and for all. You can't blame Blair for that one, even if he is a ****-wit.

    On a different note, because of the clever way rail recharing works, and because track access fees have to be paid to Network Rail by the operator (and the level of fee varies based on the route), some routes will not be profitable, even if they are standing-room only. Basically, by the time you have paid your train crew, Network Rail, maintenance charges for the locos and the carriages etc., there is very little money left in the pot. Guess who decided to privatise the rail network? (I'll give you a clue, it wasn't Blair).
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2007
  13. WoodenFlugel

    WoodenFlugel Moderator Staff Member

    Oh absolutely and I know it was a private company - and has been for a number of years now. Not bothered about Corus overly, but what does bother me is the possiblity of all of the UK's steel manufacturing going abroad. As a company we're already being squeezed both ways by our suppliers and customers due to the rising cost of steel and I can only see that situation getting worse if we have to import the stuff too. Another nail in the coffin of British engineering and manufacturing in general. I'm just a little narked that it was done so easily without (that I've heard about at least), any intervention or even questioning from the government.

    FWIW Maggie did far more damage to engineering and manufacturing that Tone ever will. By comparison he is a amateur, but I like your discription of him more :)
  14. timbloke

    timbloke Member

    Some very valid points Ian. And I agree with you. When I put my average Joe hat on rather than my Civil Engineering (hard) hat ;) on I'm with everyone else on this one. And whereas 3 years ago I took public transport everywhere and only used cars as the absolute last resort, I'm coming around to the car more and more recently.

    When I'm in the office I usually travel by tram/train, it is possibly a little more expensive, it is certainly less reliable, and it takes about the same time. I agree with your wife, when the trains work it is brilliant, the connections are good, the trains are generally clean, and it is stress free, plus you get to read the Metro on the way in. If it wasn't for one stretch of really bad traffic between home and the office, and the fact that parking is limited or expensive. My main gripe is that because I work in a different county to where I live, I cannot take advantage of the county wide, all modes of transport discount season tickets. Yet it is nearer than most of the rest of the county.

    The problem is that whilst in an ideal world more money is spent on public transport initiatives, the government won't, because they're not profitable! No LRT (light rapid transit - aka tram) system in the country has yet proven to be profitable, in fact many extensions and new schemes have been scrapped or put on hold indefinitely. There are also trains around Sheffield that are like the ones you discribe - so packed that they cannot check the tickets (and collect money), and then the operators turn round and say the trains are not being used and are not profitable so they are scrapped.

    I think the extension of the Oyster Scheme across the country may be a step in the right direction but that'll not happen for a good few years. It will make paying for public transport that much easier.

    It is a difficult one, no easy solution, but as I said, there needs to be a culture change in our approach to using cars. How do we make that happen.
  15. yorkie19

    yorkie19 Active Member

    For what it's worth, I can't see all the steel production going overseas. Corus have spent a lot on the Scunthorpe plant, and as long as there is the dependency of Network Rail on Corus's ability to provide rail, I think Tata would be mad to move it. Add to that the fact that Corus has the cheapest prices for rail in Europe (and that is a very large market), and I can see Corus looking at getting into the European market in a big way at the expense of Voestalpine and Lucchini.

    Sadly, there was very little the government could do. The ultimate acceptance or rejection of the Tata (or any other) offer was with the shareholders, a lot of whom (as I understand it) were companies and funds rather than individuals. There was certainly no way that HMG could have prevented the sale (and why would / should they jepordise future UK manufacturing by alienating the new owners?).

    At least, with a little luck, Blair will be gone in 6 months. Don't stop to clear your desk Tone, we'll forward your things on to you.
  16. NeilW

    NeilW Member

    The car manufacturers are also going to have to work hard too:

    How is this going to leave the 4x4 "Chelsea Tractors"?

    I know my wife's car emits 104g/km... Mine is no longer listed as MG-Rover aren't a current manufacturer though the K-series engine is supposed to be very clean burning...
  17. DaveR

    DaveR Active Member

    That would be the same engineering and manufacturing industry that was permanently on strike until Maggie sorted it out, would it? :rolleyes: There may be less people employed in those industries these days, but at least those that are actually making something, rather than just standing outside the factory gates waving banners at passing motorists.
  18. BigHorn

    BigHorn Active Member

    I must stick up for the school run brigade here. (And I speak as a parent of 3 children who all walk to school). They are always held up as the culprits but in reality they are often parents just dropping off children whilst on their own way to work. The few that aren't are maybe making unecessary journeys but they are far less polluting and congestion causing than people who commute miles to their place of work.
    There is a readiness in the general public to always blame someone else. At work we have a couple of holier-than-thou cyclists who live within a mile of work. They are all for work place parking charges and road taxing but then they start talking about their holidays in South Africa and India! I know for a fact that they have caused far more global pollution than my family have in the last 10 years.

    As I have posted earlier you can solve such problems by a few cheap road signs. A time based restriction on entering streets within a quarter mile of a school (residents excepted) would be far more effective in stopping the school run than any tax measures. Town pedestrianisation or bus only access is another effective taffic control measure.
    Monetary penalties should always be the very last resort. It cannot be fair that a part-time worker on minimum wage is effectively taxed out of going to work whilst a millionaire has the roads cleared of the masses so he can glide to work in his 6 litre Bentley without having to put his foot on the brake.
  19. WoodenFlugel

    WoodenFlugel Moderator Staff Member

    Woooosh!!! Excuse my while I duck for that sweeping generalisation. :rolleyes:

    Don't tar my industry (machinery manufacture) with that of Red Robbo's militant car plants. If the truth be known he did as much damage to the image of engineering as any politician has, and I have no time for union activists who are usually only interested in their own welfare. But Maggie's subsequent lack of interest and investment set a trend that has continued right up to the present day. No government since the 80's Tory party has been the slightest bit interested in engineering and we're now in trouble because of it.

    Tell me how can it be healthy that I now have to wait 10 weeks for a custom gear to be made, because the company we use are the only ones in the country with the correct mix of skills and machine tools to do what I asked for? Or the fact that I now have to go abroad to get cams manufactured? Or that none of our supplier base can get people to work their new machines? I've been doing a design-based job now for 10 years or so, and due to the chronic skills shortage, I can no longer get parts made which 10 years ago would've been no problem at all. The loss of skills in UK engineering is scary.

    You might not really care, and I wouldn't blame you, but if we as a nation don't actually make things, where is the vital overseas money for our economy going to come from?
  20. DaveR

    DaveR Active Member

    What's the point in making generalisations if they are not great big sweeping ones?! :rolleyes: :tongue:

    Actually, despite being a "hard-hearted" staunchly Thatcherite-Tory (and I make no apology for that despite the fact she gets blamed for everything!), I do care. I think it is a scandal that we are losing the skills that we have always had, and the fact that it is cheaper to import stuff half way round the world than have it made at the workshop two miles down the road.

    For example, I have never owned a car that has not been made in Britain, and next time I buy a new car (well, new to me anyway!) I will try my best to make sure it is one that is made in Britain, even if it turns out to be one built by a foreign-owned company, which is pretty inevitable since the sad demise of Rover! We have no British-owned large scale car manufactures left. France supports 3, Citroen, Peugeot and Renault. How can they do that when we can't support even one? Because people buy them. Go to France, and virtually the only cars you will see on the road are Citroens, Renaults and Peugeots. OK, these companies are also heavily subsidised by the state, (which I don't approve of - I believe in order to survive a business needs to be viable in its own right, and not to be dependent on handouts), but the French buy them because they are French. I don't particularly like the way the French do business and the "closed-shop" they run, but I do think we could learn a lot from them.

    I guess the sad fact is that in Britain, we are just hopeless at big business. When the pound is strong against other currencies, we moan that we are not competitive enough and that we are struggling to sell our goods abroad. What we should do during periods such as this is invest in foreign businesses and then when the strength of the pound drops sell off those foreign interests in order to preserve our own home-grown industry. That is what BMW did to Rover when it was uneconomical for them to keep ownership of the company, and I can't blame them for that.

    Anyway, I hope there have been enough off-topic sweeping generalisations in there for you all! :tongue: