No, This Is Not A ‘Reading Tax’…

…anymore than a speeding ticket is a ‘driving tax’:

Children as young as one in Hampshire will be fined for overdue library books in a controversial move, branded a “reading tax” by critics.


This ‘tax’ doesn’t apply if you return your books on time, does it? Would that all tax could be so easily circumvented!

Currently children’s books can be returned late without any financial penaltiesbut fines which were dropped in 2005 to encourage use of libraries are to be reintroduced.Under the new system, youngsters who return books after the four-week loan period will be fined 5p per day for each overdue item up to a maximum 40p per book.

Select committee councillors at Hampshire even went further than officers suggested, extending the penalty to library users under five despite a recommendation they be excluded.

Not that the children themselves will be paying it. It’ll be their parents. And why shouldn’t they?

… Desmond Clarke, a national library campaigner, said the local authority should be doing everything it can to encourage reading among children.He said: “This is just a backdoor way to raise more money. I think it is very sad that the council is imposing fines for overdue children’s books.

All the evidence is that children who read a lot do better in school and are more successful in life.”

All the evidence is that children who learn personal responsibility, and that actions have consequences, do a lot better in life too. We’re seeing some of the results of failing to teach that for the last 25-30 years, aren’t we?

… Councillor Keith House, leader of the Liberal Democrat opposition group on the county council, said: “Charging late fees for children is a reading tax.

This all covers up the more amazing fact that the county has lost 30,000 books in recent years.

“The council should concentrate on tracking down these rather than discouraging children reading.”

Just where do you think most of those 30,000 ‘lost’ books actually are, you idiot? Could it be they are residing somewhere in the homes of those who up to now have suffered no penalty whatsoever for not returning them?

6 comments for “No, This Is Not A ‘Reading Tax’…

  1. Twenty_Rothmans
    August 14, 2011 at 5:35 pm

    Jesus Christ – can Keith House really be that retarded?

    He has just refuted his own bloody argument!

  2. August 14, 2011 at 6:36 pm

    30,000 lost books? They may as well scrap the libraries and hand out free books.

    • J Jones
      August 14, 2011 at 7:04 pm

      “Buying” books for 40p each is still a good deal!

  3. August 14, 2011 at 11:51 pm

    “It’ll be their parents. And why shouldn’t they”

    When I were a lad I used the library all the time. Late return fines were only pennies but if I forgot, or was too idle to return a book in time, those pennies would come out of my (non-excessive)pocket money, so I rarely forgot. But then I was fortunate to have had parents who believed children should grow up understanding responsibility, I guess many of my age group learned similar lessons.

  4. August 15, 2011 at 4:56 am

    The mind boggles, though I have to get a picky with Julia over her speeding ticket analogy. No, that’s not really a driving tax but since speeding is a victimless offence which happens millions of times per day with no injuries (yes, crashes often involve illegal speed but that’s symptomatic – the offence is, or should be, driving like an irresponsible dickhead, since it’s irresponsible dickheadery that causes crashes).* Returning a library book late is extremely minor but it is not a victimless offence since the library is deprived of the ability to lend it to someone else until it’s brought back. It hasn’t been something that’s troubled me since school but now and again I used to reserve a book I wanted at the local library, and once or twice it wasn’t available when I went to pick it up because the inconsiderate plank who already had it out (and who was probably at my school) hadn’t returned it. If Des Clarke can’t bring himself to support fines then maybe he’d prefer to look at it as open ended hire of the books with the initial period free and a daily rate of 5p after that.

    Wait, what? 5p a day? And a cap of 40p? Is that all? Can’t remember how much it was when I used the library but I’m damn sure that twenty years ago it was a lot more than 5p.

    * I’m sure that the successful inventor of the irresponsible dickhead camera will become very wealthy very quickly, so I’ve been working on it for years. So far all I’ve come up with is a bloke with a penchant for blue shirts and donuts and equipped with Mk I eyeballs, and since the police just say “We know, piss off” there’s no money in that.

    • August 15, 2011 at 5:53 am

      “… not really a driving tax but since speeding is a victimless offence…”

      Good point!

      Of course, I never had a speeding ticket. Or a parking fine.

      Not sure about late library book, though., Can’t remember that far back… 😛

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