Thursday, July 06, 2017

Government makes more money available for Britain's roads

I welcome the news announced yesterday that the government is making £6.1 billion more money available to invest in Britain's roads. Yes, it's taxpayers' money but this is one of the things I pay my taxes for.

Trudy Harrison has asked for and been given an assurance that this will include the A595.

More details to follow.


Jim said...

Its the one thing I pay car tax and fuel duty for. Tell me, what was the income last financial year from car tax and fuel duty?

Jim said...

Help you out a little bit with that one, from Wikipedia

"Motoring taxation in the United Kingdom consists primarily of vehicle excise duty (commonly known as VED, vehicle tax, car tax, and road tax), which is levied on vehicles registered in the UK and hydrocarbon oil duty (normally referred to as fuel tax) which is levied on the fuel used by motor vehicles. VED and fuel tax raised approximately GB£32 billion in 2009, a further £4 billion was raised from the value added tax on fuel purchases. Motoring-related taxes for fiscal year 2011/12, including fuel duties and VED, are estimated that will amount to more than GB£38 billion, representing almost 7% of total UK taxation."

Jim said...

I whole heartedly belive in the concept of ring fenced taxation, under the control of the people as per the 5th demand of Harrogate. Basically a simple system of this tax pays for this and that, this one pays for this, that one pays for that.

Then we can really see and understand the cost and value for money for each of our taxes. There really does need to be a higher level of scrutiny and accountability to public spending and borrowing/taxation.

At the moment its just like every tax taken goes into this blackhole of public spending, then it is spent on what ever sounds good to a government in power at the time. Then future governments have a nightmare trying to stop that spending.

For a long time i have thought the public sector idea of "spend your budget or lose it next year" is completely stupid. There is no incentive to save money at all, in fact in more than one place i have either worked or know of then people are desperate to spend money in Feb or Mar simply so they have spent it.

Chris Whiteside said...

there is a lot there, but let's just say that I agree with you about the need for more transparency about how money is raised and spent and on how much things cost.

I also agree with you that rigid rules of the "spend it or lose it" variety can all too easily give public servants an incentive towards behaviours which are not in the public interest - not stupid from their viewpoint perhaps but certainly stupid from the taxpayer's.

Instead we need to give people incentives to save public money by rewarding those who get things done on time, to the required standard and under budget.

Anonymous said...

From the magic money tree?

Jim said...

I think a simple step to this would be to stop providing bugets as such, ok there needs to be one or two in place to pay workers, but, for a project, like fixing the A595, no, why should there be?

simple things like this is how much we estimate it will cost to fix it, here is my business case, here is my estimate, here are my quotes, can I have it?

- er ok, guess so.

so much easier than year on year budgets that never work. For example a 3 year project estimated at say £3 million, so you end up with 1 million per year over 3 years, but of course that is no good, you need 2 million year 1 for materials and work force hire, then 0.75 to continue, then 0.25 to finish up

but no you have to have 1 million spend it or lose it, then another next year then another, its madness.

Anonymous said...

The ongoing works on the A66 is money well spent, not.

Jim said...

I dont really know without seeing the figures. Its very easy to decide that a project is not worth the money, but without the figures then how can you possibly do it?

Is it worth £1million to stop the A66 flooding? well you could make the case either way, is it worth £2 million?

Everything is subjective, and that is the way things should be, the problem I am adressing is simply that the motorist has already paid £32 billion in taxes, so should really be driving around around on the highest quality roads, but that is not the case.

really the whole funding then spending some of it here, a bit there and a bit over yonder is all backwards.

Note a job that needs doing, or suggest an improvement that should be made, so for example dual carridge way the entire A66, then cost it, then make the case for it and obtian the funds. Rather than take money in the first instance, spend it on what ever tickles your fancy, then scrape around for change to do some improvements to a bad road in order to keep it bad but funtioning for another 10 years.

Chris Whiteside said...

The magic money tree does not exist, it's coming from us as taxpayers. Indeed vast amounts of government revenue are raised specifically from road users via VED and tax on fuel and it is only fair that some of that comes back into the road network.

Whether you can afford to spend money on things is a matter of priorities, and getting a better and safer road network is one of mine. Unfortunately you cannot prioritise everything so you have to do a cost benefit analysis.

As a regular user of the A66 I find the ongoing roadworks on that road extremely trying but without wanting to get into the mindset of defending everything that Highways England or indeed the County Council does, I think that if none of that work had been carried out we would like the results even less.

Jim is right to suggest a rigorous process to decide whether road schemes should go ahead. There is actually a due process, and it is much closer to what Jim describes than many people probably realise, but that does not mean that it could not be improved.