The capital's roads
[Re: Congestion charge after ten years: it’s time to be bolder, yesterday]
Baroness Valentine is right that the congestion charge scheme could be bigger, bolder and more sophisticated. But this is unlikely to be acceptable to motorists, or to deliver sustainable improvements to the quality of roads in London, given our existing governance structures. Car drivers know they already pay a lot through motoring taxes (four times what is spent on roads). And often all they get is poorly-maintained roads and bottlenecks. Major projects begin and end according to local and central government electoral cycles. The Thames Gateway Bridge/Silvertown Tunnel is just the latest example of a long line of similar projects in London. The capital’s strategic roads should instead be transferred to a new commercial company, which can use parking, lane rental and congestion charging revenues to deliver improved services to users. London could encourage the private sector to develop self-funding new toll routes, like the tunnels Valentine envisages. Finally, the city could propose a London-wide congestion charge. Since this would entail an end to direct funding by the Treasury, drivers should be compensated by being offered a partial refund in fuel tax at the pump. Motorists who drive on uncongested roads should feel that they are not simply being taxed more.
BEST OF TWITTER
Just ten London boroughs pay some £1.1bn in stamp duty payments each year. That’s 26 per cent of UK total.
Labour’s 10p tax gimmick is silly. Those paying the 10p rate now pay no income tax at all. We need simpler, flatter, lower taxes.
A tax on soft drinks would mean more people drinking more diet drinks. And they’re not exactly better for you.
The Conservative party doesn’t deserve to win another majority until it’s absolutely focused on the rising and striving classes.