Spring is sprung, the grass is riz….


….I wonder where the birdies is. The birdies is upon the wing, don’t be obsurd , the wing is upon the boird.

So goes the old saying with a heavy New Yoirk accent. I remember this from years ago, I don’t know how it’s stuck in my memory, but then sometimes pernicious bits of useless information lodge themselves in your brain, and stay there.  After a slight taster of spring, the weather is turning again, with heavy rain all day. Mind you we have had a dry period of a few days; wonder when the hosepipe ban will be announced? No don’t laugh if you live abroad, that’s what its like in this once great country of ours.

Everything has to be fiddled with, health and safety and ooman rights take precedence over all, and right thinking people are getting fed up with it. But it’s the politicians that control it, and I don’t just mean those elected as MPs. There are petty administrators and organisers meddling with every aspect of our lives, and trying to extract as much money as they can out of our pockets while doing so. I have two hobby horses which particularly get my goat:

Council Tax

OK, I live in a fairly big house and have done so for over 30 years, but I have chosen to stay there rather than move to make a profit. So why is the largest outgoing every month, my council tax? There are only two of us, we have no kids living with us, we rarely use services like libraries or the police, we have our bins collected, and use the local roads, so why do I have to pay over £225 a month for 10 months? That doesn’t represent good value for money where I’m sitting. Perhaps some of the tax is diverted to the less well off (who are they by the way, what’s the threshold?), to help them with their payments. I guess its people like us who use the services lightly that are the cash cows to enable poorer people to pay less, but who more than likely use local services more. Incidentally that figure is my highest outgoing every month, so my question to no-one in particular is: council tax is still an unfair, unequally distributed method of paying for local services. When it is going to be made more equal by including it as part of income tax or national insurance? I don’t expect a reply.

Car tax or road fund licence

My car, in fact both cars are pre-2001 so attract road tax of £220, across the board for all cars above 1549cc. This was a method of taxing cars introduced by the last government, presumably to get ‘old bangers’ off the road. Very commendable, but this presupposes that most new cars are not bought by those over a certain age, so this group generally hang on to their older cars, because they can’t afford a flash new car which only has a tax disc costing £35 in some cases. Meanwhile yet again the older population are saddled with paying more than a new car owner when they are more than likely to have an older car. My solution us simple and had been discussed many times over the years: put road tax onto the petrol. This way the heaviest users pay the most, tax is collected by the petrol retailers on behalf of the government anyway; why not add a few pence to each litre, and that can also be passed on as tax. This will have two effects: one already alluded to, the other is that no-one will get away with not paying road tax as they do now. Of course there will still be illicit petrol around, but I suspect this will be a very small amount. So a win-win situation, no loss of road tax for the government and everyone knows exactly how much petrol tax it costs to drive anywhere. Rant over.

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About cliverh

Retired aerospace engineer, first with the Royal Air Force and then BAE Systems. Now enjoying a variety of activities and not getting bored. I was a Games Maker Volunteer at the London 2012 Olympics and a volunteer at the Rugby World Cup 2015 in England. I intend to blog about what interests me.
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