Friday, 4 January 2008

Congestion Tax Hell

As ever when I have some time off, Mrs C dragged me up to London to shop. Excellent, a chance to pay some more tax. Now I drive to London regularly for work. Not every day, but often. And The Great Newt of City Hall told us that when his Congestion Tax – and it is a tax despite its purposefully innocuous name – came into being, we would all be in road space heaven; train/tube/bus seats for all, less traffic, less congestion, better air quality, free gold bars on every street corner. OK, so I exaggerated this last point, but the rest were on the list.

So what is the reality? Well stats now tell us that we have precisely the same number of vehicles using London’s streets as when it was introduced ( We have less road space for them due to all the pedestrianisation and bus lanes paid for by the tax. And the air quality is terrible, as bad as and some say worse than when the tax was introduced ( But fair’s fair to the Newt, we do have more public transport, most of it in the form of empty red buses that sit bumper to bumper down Oxford Street.

And the Great Newt is hailed a brave political leader wherever he travels: the Labour Party conference, Fidel Castro’s hospital suite, Hugo Chavez’s parties.

It seems to me that stupid taxes which need to be ‘disguised’ to stop the people revolting are always called ‘charges’ viz Community Charge, Congestion Charge etc. If only William III had known this when he introduced Window Tax. But don’t mention this, or the Newt will reintroduce it.

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