One of the ways in which you can recognise a statist is that they will always see the state as the answer to all the world’s problems. And so it is with the apparent unfair treatment of British hauliers over their continental counterparts.
Foreign lorries are to be charged up to £1,000 a year to use British roads – in a bid to benefit domestic hauliers.
The fee will also apply to UK-based lorries – but this will be offset by an equivalent cut in vehicle excise duty.
The move is designed to create a “level playing field” for British lorry drivers, as they have to pay for using roads in Europe.
So, yes, UK trucks pay for the use of French motorways. However, French motorways are privately owned and maintained. So, if a private company was to build and operate motorways in the UK, then we could claim a level playing field. All I see with this proposal is an opportunity for the state to steal more money to piss up the wall on its latest insane schemes. So, no, the UK haulage business will not win. That offset will sooner or later disappear as excise duty rises and you can be sure that the road fees will not decrease in line with them. The government speaks with a forked tongue – always has, always will.
Protectionism has always proved to be a bad idea because, frankly it is a bad idea. All we will see from this is losers. Unless you count the treasury and the troughers in Westminster palace. They will be laughing all the way to the bank.
Of course, much like Boxer in Animal Farm, the industry has its useful idiots:
Road Haulage Association chief executive Geoff Dunning said it was a “happy day” for the industry.
“We have been campaigning for years to see a system introduced which will lessen the financial advantage currently enjoyed by our European neighbours,” he said.
“UK hauliers travelling to mainland Europe have to pay road charges but foreign-registered vehicles travelling to the UK pay nothing.”
Sigh… Those foreign drivers pay exactly the same charges on continental motorways as the British ones and the British drivers pay no fees to use the UK network, exactly the same as the continental ones. Or do those foreign trucks magically appear at Calais without having to traverse any roads to get there?
But, no, Geoff Dunning thinks it a “happy day” to have his industry ripped off even more by Westminster, because be sure that that is exactly what will happen.