I like trucking

January 25th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

Look at all those forrin’ trucks, coming over here, using our roads. Using them for free, too!

Foreign trucks don’t pay to use our roads we British drivers pay an annual fee to licence our vehicles to use them where as over in Europe they have a system of tolls. The British have a contract, with unlimited miles included, where as the Europeans have a Pay-as-You-Go system, if you like.

This, for us, is indeed not business friendly for the haulage industry, as the British vehicles have to subsidise the wear and tear, and damage done to the roads of foreign vehicles, whilst British hauliers, even if the vehicle is abroad the majority of the time, have to pay British road tax and all the tolls and charges of the European countries they visit.

So what’s the British government proposing?

A proposal to charge foreign-registered lorries up to £10 a day to drive on the UK’s roads is due to be outlined.

The government says the current system is unfair and is launching a consultation on the plan.

Foreign hauliers drive around the UK for free, while UK firms pay road tolls or daily rates to drive across Europe.

Legally, ministers cannot discriminate between UK and EU lorries so all trucks will be charged up to £10 a day, but British hauliers would get a refund.

That sounds fair enough, doesn’t it? Two things jumped out at me though.

The first is why complicate things with having this charge *and* road tax *and* giving a refund? It’s a recipe for disaster. Incorrect charging, missed refunds and all sorts. Why not simplify the system by getting rid of the road tax for commercial vehicles and apply the daily charge to *all* commercial vehicles in the UK? I understand this is just a proposal so they probably haven’t thought past the picking a daily figure out of their arse, but the more times money is passed back and forth, the more likely it is something will go wrong, and if it’s gonna go wrong it’s gonna be the haulier that will get fucked by late refunds and appeals and shit like that.

The second point is up to £10 a day! That is a huge amount. I would bet my hat that no commercial vehicle pays that amount at the moment. I realise this is just a proposal, and that it is *up to* £10 a day, but that is way out, even for a proposal that has been thrown out the door to see what reaction it gets.

The licencing of commercial vehicles is not the simplist of things, as there are so many different types of vehicles, and combinations of different types of vehicles with so many different uses. I had a quick squint at the direct.gov.uk website about the cost of licencing a HGV and the biggest charge for road tax on a truck was £2585 per annum. Have a look for yourself if you want, here. This works out to £7.08 per day for a very large load vehicle with no Reduced Pollution Certificate. For even bigger vehicles that tax wouldn’t go up much, and if fact dropps dramatically, because they are not used *all* the time or are just used for the beginning and end legs of journeies, where the middle bit of the journey is by rail of water.

For the more usual class of HGV (3 axle tractor, 2 axle trailer, with reduced pollution Certificate and road friendly suspension) the figure is twenty quid shy of £1600. This works out at £4.33 per day. Less that half of what could be charged under this proposal.

The UK cannot dicriminate between UK and foreign trucks, so the charge will have to be the same (for each class of vehicle) whether a UK truck or one from abroad, so it is not going to be simple case of collecting cash as the truck rolls off the ferry. Why make it more complicated with having the road tax and refunds in the mix?

This could be good. the extra cash raised from the foreign trucks, at no cost to UK ones, would help the government coffers. If the government was feeling generous (stop laughing at the back!) they could drop the daily rate, still have the same income (due to more trucks paying) and that would help lower some of the costs the UK haulage industry which is already struggling to keep it’s head above water due to fuel prices.

But if the government can’t even have a look to see what trucks are currently paying per day to go out on a policy proposal, then I can’t really see then doing this a) the best way or b) not fucking it up whichever way they decide to do it.

And no post about trucking would be complete without a song…

On Stamp Duty for first time buyers

January 9th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

I was just looking at what the current rules for are for Stamp Duty and the obvious place to look is here.

First time buyers at the moment, I noticed, are getting a bit of a hand and instead of having to pay stamp duty from a purchase price of £125,000, don’t have to pay anything until the spend over £250,000.

Now, arguably, if you’re spending nearly £250k on your first home then you don’t really need that much of a hand onto the property ladder, but that isn’t the point of this post. What did catch my eye was the definition given for a first time buyer…

If you are a first-time buyer the threshold for when you start to pay SDLT is £250,000. This is only if you have never owned a house or flat in the UK or anywhere else in the world. If you are buying with someone else they must never have owned property before either. This higher threshold applies to purchases made on or after 25 March 2010 and before 25 March 2012.

A first time buyer is someone that hasn’t owned a house or flat. Anywhere. Not just in the UK, but worldwide.

How the fuck do HMRC know if someone has owned a house or flat anywhere other than the UK? I imagine some of this information gets onto the books via the land registry (obviously), tax returns and other things like that, or friendly foreign government agencies might help out, but do HMRC just take everyone at their word? Do they actually investigate to make sure they are fresh to the home-owning scene?

Wth this thought in my head I submitted a Freedom of Information request to them…

Dear HM Revenue and Customs,

This request is regarding the Stamp Duty Land Tax relief currently available to first time buyers.

People buying house or flat for the first time on or after 25th March 2010 and before 25th March 2012 do not pay any SDLTX on a property with a purchase price of £250,000 or less.

See here http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/MoneyTaxAndBenefits/Taxes/TaxOnPropertyAndRentalIncome/DG_4015918

The definition of “first time buyer” is someone that has not owned a house or flat in the UK or anywhere else in the world.

What I would like to know is

1) How much has HMRC spent in finding out if someone has previously bought a house or flat in the UK.

2) How much has HMRC spent in finding out if someone has previously bought a house or flat anywhere else in the world.

3) How much STLD has HMRC recovered from people who have claimed not to have previously owned a house or flat but have owned one in the UK

4) How much STLD has HMRC recovered from people who have claimed not to have previously owned a house or flat but have owned one somewhere in the rest of the world.

5) How many first time purchases have HMRC investigated whether the buyers have previously owned a house or flat?

6) How many of these investigations have HMRC found people claiming not to have owned a house or flat have actually owned a house or flat a) in the UK and b) anywhere else in the workd?

Could you give the most upto date figures possible and broken down in to months, and for purchases in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

On asking shareholders to be responsible

January 8th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

Further to my previous incoherent ramble on giving shareholders responsibility is this from episode 114 of The Pod Delusion about just how much shareholders can hold companies responsible.

Listen from 32 minutes and 50 seconds.

Both my rant and this Pod Delusion clip begs the question, just how much influence do share holders of massive companies have, exactly?

Giving shareholders clout

January 8th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

(I’m on my phone so no links. Sorry)

If the government is going to try and make shareholder votes on executive pay binding why for the last fuck knows how long have all these thinktanks, committees and what not been telling us that all that’s needed to reign in excessive pay is for the shareholders to take responsibility and vote the pay deals down?

I didn’t know those votes weren’t binding, but then I’m not a boardroom expert. These other cunts put themselves forward as such and so are either lying wankers, bullshitters or incompetent.

We’re surrounded by cunts, we really are.

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