Will Government please join us in the "real world"

We all know that our Government is technically bankrupt – it has spent far more money than it has and therefore needs to either dramatically reign in its spending or increase its income.  Unfortunately, the Government is not a business so it cannot go bankrupt, with all the MPs losing their jobs and, worse still, its only source of income is our taxes, which it is legally entitled to levy at any rate it feels appropriate.

Since spending money is what gives MPs power, cutting back on spending is not a very attractive option. However, while raising taxes brings in more money (more money more power) it is not popular with the public who are therefore likely to vote you out of office.

But all is not lost for MPs as our Government have come up with a brilliant new wheeze. This will leave us being taxed at the same level but make us pay extra for things that people think are a good idea. 

It all began with the roads.  All vehicle owners pay a road tax, which is supposed to pay for the roads, but when we needed a bridge over the Thames at Dartford the Government thought it would be a good idea if we paid extra for it through a toll. The idea was that once the bridge was paid for, the toll would be removed. This was supposed to have taken place in 2003 but far from removing it now that the bridge is paid for, the toll has been increased with the justification being that if it was free, more people would use it.

We now have 24 tolls in Britain - eighteen on river crossings, the M6 Toll, three minor toll roads and the London and Durham "Congestion charge" zones. 

But the principle has not stopped with roads. In June the Government published its report on Digital Britain in which they recognise that to be a competitive economy, we need to increase the capacity of our broadband network and get all households connected – nothing to argue with there. However, to pay for it, they propose levying a £6 a year charge on every landline connection. But broadband is a good thing and it’s only six quid, why should anyone mind?

Next, in his statement on reforming financial markets on 8th July this year, Alistair Darling said that the Government proposes introducing  “a national money guidance service and imposing a levy on the financial sector to help fund it.”  Since all of us use financial services companies for our pensions, savings, car insurance etc. this “levy” is yet another tax on us.

It’s not that I object to paying taxes for the things we need, my problem is that we already pay taxes for the things we need and these additional taxes are simply added on top.

When needs change in the real world, you pay for new things by cutting back on the old.  Wouldn’t it be good if Government could join us in the real world?



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