Azara Blog: Blair is supposedly going to send an email to anti-road-pricing petitioners

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Date published: 2007/02/18

The BBC says:

Tony Blair is to send an e-mail to the million-plus people behind an online petition against road pricing telling them it is "surely part of the answer".

Mr Blair told the Observer he did not expect to win critics over at once, but a useful debate had been started.

The petition calls the policy "sinister and wrong" and warns the charge would be unfair to those who live away from their families, and poorer people

The petition was so popular that at one point it crashed the PM's website.

It appears on a new section of Downing Street's website which was set up in November last year to allow anyone to address and deliver a petition directly to the Prime Minister.

Transport Secretary Douglas Alexander has accused the organisers of the petition on the 10 Downing Street website of spreading "myths" and pledged to press ahead with plans to pilot the scheme.
The Observer reported that the government was considering introducing road pricing on a voluntary basis initially.

Under plans suggested by the RAC Foundation, drivers who choose to have satellite-tracking equipment to measure how far and where they travel could be given discounts on other motoring taxes.

One scheme is for people to pay their tolls at the fuel pump in return for discounts on petrol duty.

Hopefully Blair, or some of his flunkies, will read the many replies he will no doubt get to his email. (Or will Downing Street use a non-returnable email address?)

Alexander, unable to mount any real reply to the petition, has talked about the organisers "spreading myths", but he has yet to point out which "myths" he is talking about.

And if the road pricing is initially "voluntary", then the government will definitely lose money on it. Drivers who pay more on fuel duty than they would on road pricing (e.g. because they have large cars or live in rural areas) will opt for the latter, and vice versa for other drivers. So the tax take will go down. And on top of that there is the massive cost of implementing and running the road pricing scheme. So the net revenue to the government will go way down. Any civil servant can figure that one out, so presumably this idea will never happen.

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