“It’s bonkers that politicians can get free travel to work when low earners can't”

Mike Rutherford thinks low-earning employees deserve to have their commute subsidised

Spare a thought for low-income folk and their worsening travel-related difficulties, please.

First, they’re having to deal with the current, temporary (hopefully!) fear and risk of becoming Covid-19 victims as they board often cramped and dirty trains or buses, where social distancing is nightmarish. Next, they have to swallow the fact that, according to currently active non-departmental UK Government advisers, these poor souls typically spend 25 per cent of their salaries travelling to and from work. Imagine the soul-destroying sensation of earning, say, £300 a week, but having to give up £75 just getting to the workplace and back every day.

People earning that kind of money – £15-16,000 a year, or less – for going to the restaurant, factory, office, shop or wherever daily, need and deserve to be subsidised by way of, at least, a free bus or train pass from home-workplace-home. Or, even a contribution from the state towards the cost of their workhorse cars!

It’s bonkers that high-earning politicians can qualify for free travel to and from their places of work (the House of Commons, for example), yet low-earning salt-of-the-earth employees cannot.       

The UK Government is this month being formally warned by its own experts that transport is the essential lynchpin through which opportunities in education and employment are realised, but that’s just half the story. Wheels – preferably those attached to motorcars operating 24/7 – give men, women and kids improved social lives, easier-to-manage family lives, and a world of far greater freedom and liberty.

Trouble is, when national and local politicians talk about transport these days, it’s all about the minority on or in bikes and buses, trains and planes, walking boots or e-scooters. Cars, meanwhile, which are used by the overwhelming majority of men, women and children in Britain, are almost becoming a taboo subject. This, despite the fact that for every new motor sold for £30,000, the UK Government immediately collects £6,000 thanks to its 20 per cent VAT rate.

It’s unreasonable to expect our leaders to slash this painful tax to zero for those purchasing the newest, cleanest, greenest cars, but how about halving it to 10 per cent? Or at least returning it to the 17.5 per cent it stood at before the Conservative/Liberal coalition cheekily upped it to its current level back in 2011?

How to fund a better public transport system, as well as reduced VAT on new cars? Easy. Dump the wretched HS2 rail project, which the epidemic and related financial crisis have rendered redundant. Then put the circa £100bn HS2 cash into what car occupants and public transport users actually need in their humble day-to-day lives.

One last thing: anyone needing to travel north-south or south-north in a hurry will, in the future, be able to do so in fast, flexible, state-of-the-art autonomous cars. Unlike HS2 trains, these will run 24/7, be comparatively cheap to use, and travel door-to-door, not station-to-station. The HS2 train is a pain – so let the driverless car take the strain.

Do you agree with Mike? Let us know in the comments section below...

Recommended

UK petrol and diesel prices: cost of petrol hits record high
Kia Niro long-term - petrol station
News

UK petrol and diesel prices: cost of petrol hits record high

Average price of UK petrol is now 142.94p per litre, exceeding the previous all-time high of 142.48p set in April 2012
25 Oct 2021
2022 Geneva Motor Show cancelled due to ongoing Covid-19 pandemic
Geneva
Geneva Motor Show

2022 Geneva Motor Show cancelled due to ongoing Covid-19 pandemic

Geneva show cancelled for three years running but hope for 2023 return remains
7 Oct 2021
UK new car sales stagnate in September but 33,000 electric cars are sold
Tesla Model 3 - front
News

UK new car sales stagnate in September but 33,000 electric cars are sold

Electric cars increase their market share but semiconductor shortage means another gloomy month for the car industry
5 Oct 2021
UK car production down 27% in August amid ongoing chip shortage
Production line
News

UK car production down 27% in August amid ongoing chip shortage

Only 37,246 cars rolled off production lines in the UK in August 2021, but EVs and hybrids took a record market share
30 Sep 2021

Most Popular

New Kia EV6 2021 review
Kia EV6 front tracking
Kia EV6

New Kia EV6 2021 review

With a sporty drive, 300-plus miles of range and plenty of tech - could the new Kia EV6 be one of the best electric cars on sale?
19 Oct 2021
The best 0% finance car deals 2021
Best 0% finance car deals - header
Best cars & vans

The best 0% finance car deals 2021

Tempted by a 0% APR deal? Here are our best 0% finance deals starting from only £145...
21 Oct 2021
New Michelin Uptis airless tyre blows in ahead of 2024 launch
Michelin Uptis
News

New Michelin Uptis airless tyre blows in ahead of 2024 launch

The new airless Michelin Uptis is made from rubber and fibreglass and promises to be longer lasting, fuel-saving and recyclable
20 Oct 2021