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Time to end the myth of road tax

Time to end the myth of road tax

The following was sent as a letter to the Editor of The Herald newspaper and appeared in a slightly edited form on the 26th July 2013

The full original version is here:

Dear Editor,

In your recent correspondence regarding cycling and road safety there
have been several references to “road tax” and how this supposedly gives
motorists a greater right to use the roads. It really is time we nailed
this myth once and for all. There is no such thing as “road tax”, the
roads are paid for by all of us out of general taxation. Many
“motorists” like to ignore the inconvenient fact that the road fund was
actually abolished in 1936 by Winston Churchill, as Chancellor of the
Exchequer, on the grounds that it was giving motorists what he regarded
as a dangerously inflated sense of ownership of the public road. Boy,
was Churchill right on that one
, 77 years later this delusion still
persists, with many drivers not understanding that owning a car doesn’t
give them a greater right of access to the public road. Indeed there is
no right to drive a motor vehicle, it is a privilege granted under licence.

Just to make it clear, everyone pays for the roads and everyone has the
right to use the roads, either on foot, riding a bicycle or a horse, but
you are only permitted to drive a motor vehicle by licence because of
the inherent risk that you pose to others while doing so. With a driving
licence come responsibilities, such as the legal requirement to drive
with due care and attention. If you are not willing to accept the
responsibilities which come with a driving licence, you should catch a bus.

Your sincerely

Kim Harding

 

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