Tuesday, 17 April 2012

United in their greed


It's taken it long enough, but even The Telegraph is putting two and two together, to discover that local authority parking fees are largely motivated by greed – a direct tax on the motorist, for which there is no democratic (or any) mandate.

This discovery is driven by the news that, in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, the council has made £30,000 from parking machines that won't give change, demonstrating yet again that the rules are a one-way street. The council is quite happy to take the excess, but if hapless motorists overstay their time, the fines are instant and savage, backed by a ruthless disregard for the law.

However, unlike the newspaper, its own commenters have a better understanding of the bigger picture. With the political pressure to keep limit rises in the headline rates of Council Tax, councils are avoiding the discipline of applying spending cuts – imposed on most normal people as the economy shrinks.

Instead, they are supplementing their Council Tax income by ramping up a wide range of fees and charges, of which parking fees are but one part.

Nor is it the case that Councils have any other concerns other than lining their pockets, as The Failygraph rightly puts it. The economic drag of unreasonable and excessive fees is of no concern to them, as the latest report of economic damage demonstrates.

Even though we have Council elections on 3 May, however, no relief will be afforded. There is rarely any difference in attitudes between Councils of different political hues. Their avarice overcomes any difference in political dogma, presenting voters with no real choice. The political classes, as they have become, are united in their greed.


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