Azara Blog: Lib Dem council in London wants to persecute car drivers

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Date published: 2006/10/25

The BBC says:

The cost of residents' parking permits could be linked to car emissions under plans being considered in one of the country's most affluent areas.

A Lib Dem council in London wants owners of gas-guzzling vehicles to pay more to park outside their homes.

Richmond upon Thames residents with two high-emission cars could pay £750 a year, compared with £200 now, but the greenest cars would be exempt.

The council hopes other authorities will be encouraged to follow its lead.

Richmond's plan follows national and local schemes targeting emissions and congestion and comes after the Lib Dem conference approved proposals to use new taxes on gas-guzzling cars and airlines to pay for income tax cuts.

The Illiberal Democrats in action, and the sign of things to come if they have any part to play in a national government. (Not that the other political parties are much better.) This is just an envy tax. On the Channel 4 News tonight the leader of the council laughingly described electric cars as "carbon free", which of course they are not, they just produce carbon emissions at the power station instead of on the road. But never let the facts get in the way of pandering to the academic middle class. The golden rule of these kinds of taxes (or service charges) is that they should be proportionate to the environmental damage caused or should be set at a level to cover the cost of the service provided. This proposed new tax does neither. It does not matter if you use your car every day or only once a month, you still pay the same charge. Further, if these so-called green taxes have the effect that their proponents allegedly want, then people will get smaller cars and the amount raised will decrease to the point where they have to keep jacking up the rate for smaller cars. And, as with many so-called green taxes, the richest, who have a driveway so do not need to park on the road, will be exempt, so the tax is regressive. Of course the residents of Richmond upon Thames can kick the bums out of office if they don't like it, although it's quite possible that a majority will perceive that they somehow benefit, and in a democracy the majority can quite happily persecute a minority (all the better if they can pretend they are somehow morally superior, which they are not).

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