Fleet News

Labour 'passes the buck' on tough decisions

ROAD-user charging and workplace parking charges were savaged this week as 'confusing' and 'damaging', and the Government attacked for passing the buck over tough decisions, following this year's Queen's Speech. As the dust settled following the announcement of a packed programme Government legislation totalling 28 Bills for the next Parliamentary year, fleets honed in on the implications of the Transport Bill for their companies and drivers.

Key features of the bill will be powers for local authorities to introduce workplace parking charges and road-user charges as part of Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott's bid to combat congestion and encourage more motorists to use public transport. Leading figures fear the Bill has not been properly thought through, despite a lengthy consultation period following publication of a the Government's Integrated Transport White Paper and a consultation document, 'Breaking the Logjam'.

In a scathing attack on the plans, Stewart Whyte, director of the Association of Car Fleet Operators, said the Government seemed to be washing its hands of responsibility. He said: 'We are concerned that transport has been singled out for what looks like a real clobbering when there is no collateral commitment to provide viable alternatives.'

John Redwood, shadow of state for the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions, attacked the Government for selling 'the Great Labour Lie'. He said: 'Out of every £20 spent at the petrol pump, the Treasury takes £17 as tax. Now Labour wants to introduce unfair congestion and parking taxes. Labour promised benefits for the travelling public, but it has just increased taxation.'

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