Why should the poor pay more?


Midweek Sport - - NEWS -

HANDS up all those peo­ple who feel desperately in need of a high speed rail­way line? No? Me nei­ther. New, bet­ter, un­crowded car­riages for ex­ist­ing tracks, yes. But un­for­tu­nately that isn’t on the ta­ble.

No, as an elec­tion is loom­ing pretty much any­thing shiny and glossy and pre­sented in Pow­erpoint will be used to di­vert your at­ten­tion from the coali­tion fall­ing apart.

The so-called HS3 line to “con­nect the north” – well, Leeds and Manch­ester – will cost £175 mil­lion per MILE to build and shave a not-thatim­pres­sive 20 min­utes off a rail jour­ney be­tween those two ci­ties. Whoop-de-doo, eh? The to­tal cost of HS3 is cur­rently only es­ti­mated at £7 bil­lion, but as with any­thing paid for with other peo­ple’s money – namely our taxes – that fig­ure will un­doubt­edly rise.

It won’t be built by this gov­ern­ment – or the next in any case – and has all the hall­marks of a box-tick­ing ex­er­cise de­signed to hope­fully excite us North­ern­ers as we point at planes and chew on a piece of straw.

No in­di­ca­tion has been given on pro­posed ticket prices, of course. But you can guar­an­tee one thing – they won’t be CHEAPER than they are now. Noth­ing ever is. The other day I went to tax my car on­line, and was pleased to see you can now pay via monthly di­rect debit – in­stead of six or 12 months in ad­vance.

Pleased, un­til I no­ticed that opt­ing for monthly pay­ments means I would have to pay an ex­tra £9 a year to keep the car on the road. Why?

My bank pays it into the DVLA’s ac­count, with no pro­cess­ing re­quired.

Lit­er­ally ZERO cost to the DVLA – and they don’t even have to send a tax disc out in the post any­more, ei­ther.

But still they charge you MORE.

Which means those who can af­ford to pay 12 months’ road tax in one go – peo­ple with the cash in the bank, frankly – pay LESS.

So that nine quid be­ing paid by me, and I’m damned sure MY heart­felt thoughts go out to the Prime Min­is­ter after his fright­en­ing or­deal in Leeds on Mon­day.

If you didn’t see it, David Cameron was col­lided into by an in­no­cent jog­ger who was promptly LEAPT UPON by the PM’s per­sonal se­cu­rity de­tail.

Be strong, Dave. It’s not ev­ery day you bump into a nor­mal man in the street. many oth­ers, is es­sen­tially an ex­tra tax – an ex­tra fine, even – for not hav­ing money on tap. Nice eh? Just like with pre-pay en­ergy me­ters and pay­day loans, the poor al­ways pay more. For ev­ery­thing.

The £7bn+ be­ing touted for the en­tirely un­nec­es­sary HS3 could be used to help erad­i­cate th­ese small but sig­nif­i­cant taxes on the less well off.

But it won’t be – be­cause suc­ces­sive gov­ern­ments of ALL shades will AL­WAYS be more ar­sed about the money to be made by the peo­ple who will build and op­er­ate HS3 than they ever are about the peo­ple who will have to pay for it.

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