Tuesday 25 January 2011

Our Transport Future - Brave but Wrong

I have a great deal of time for County Councillor Nichola Harrison.  She made a brave decision to leave the Lib Dem group at the Council and become an independent.  I have deliberately not speculated on the reasons for that move but I have little time for the Lib Dems in the County, largely because their leadership has a totally irresponsible approach to opposition, but I do know that Our Transport Future was a big part of Nichola's decision.

I have to say that the attempt at putting forward an alternative transport solution for the County is extremely brave, but a "charge and spend" solution where drivers in Cambridgeshire pay by the mile is just not the right one.  There are a number of reasons for this, the first is that current levels of taxation are already too high in this country.   That is entirely down to the flaws of the previous Labour Government and the huge deficit and borrowing problem that George Osborne inherited.  This proposal adds to that tax burden, and puts Cambridgeshire residents at a further disadvantage.

Secondly, we have areas of the county, particularly Fenland, where we need to drive up the economy.  Trying to attract new businesses into an area like Fenland when they would have to face up to additional costs like this would be extremely difficult.

Thirdly, it ignores some of the innovative ideas that have been presented by the current Government, in particular I am thinking about a programme called TIF (not the same TIF that looked at congestion charging in Cambridge); in very basic terms it allows some of the additional future tax income from business developments to be taken up front in order to fund infrastructure projects.  

Like I said, I think this is very brave, it's just not right.

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