A Telford man has had over 1.8m signatures on his online petition against road pricing. The Department for Transport, Douglas Alexander, says that the wording of the petition is misleading and that’s what has led to the biggest protest in the history of this country.
Lots of people are pointing out the unfairness of this proposed new tax – we already pay a mileage tax, it’s called fuel duty – but miss the most obvious injustice.
Douglas Alexander was elected in the constituency of Paisley & Renfrewshire South, Scotland. Transport is devolved in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland so he has no say over transport policy in his own constituency.
Because transport is devolved, road pricing only applies to England and law compelling motorists to fit their cars with a spy box to track their every move will only apply to England.
Not only will road pricing not happen in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland but the people who live there won’t have to pay to use English roads.
Douglas Alexander can’t lose. He is the architect of the most unpopular transport policy ever to come out of the Department for Transport yet his own constituents – the people who decide whether or not he keeps his job every five years – are completely unaffected by it.
This isn’t a one-off either – Alistair Darling, the Minister for Trade & Industry recently dismissed a call for Sunday Trading laws to be changed so that supermarkets can open all day on Sundays in England.
Yet in Scotland, where he was elected, supermarkets can open all day on Sunday because it is a matter for the Scottish Parliament.
I sincerely hope that the petition will force the British government to rethink their plans to tax the English off the road but I suspect that all that will come of it is a belief by the powers that be that we need the Government to save us from ourselves.
Stuart Parr, Telford