March 2017

Vehicle Excise Duty – Let’s call it Car Tax again and have done

What’s the difference between a tax and a duty, and does it really matter?

Interestingly - or not, depending on your point of view - duty is traditionally a levy on goods while tax is applied to individuals.  Both hurt just the same.

Vehicle Excise Duty (which is neither one nor the other really because it’s an individual’s payment relating to a good – their car – they already own) is being reformed.  It comprises something approaching forty different charging bands for everything from HGVs to Tricycles dependent on age and engine size or emission level.  Frankly it’s bonkers, and just for good measure, from April Fools’ Day (I kid you not) the government is adding another seventeen new bands for newly registered vehicles.

A bit of history would be illuminating here.  In 1888, the then Chancellor, George, 1st Viscount Goschen introduced two new vehicle duties the locomotive duty and the trade cart duty.  Twenty-one years later, David Lloyd George announced that public roads would from now on be self-financing (that went well) and hypothecated vehicle taxes for that purpose.  It never happened; Churchill, in particular, was notorious for snaffling road taxes for general spending and the pretence was finally given up in the 1950s. 

Rob Flello calls on Government to support local hospital in financial special measures

Following today’s announcement that University Hospital of North Midlands Trust has been placed into financial special measures, Rob is calling on the Government to ensure patient care is maintained.

Reacting to the news Rob said “It is unacceptable that less than six months after the Secretary of State for Health said he had serious concerns about the Royal Stoke hospital we are seeing the Trust go into financial special measures. This is despite the Government being aware the hospital has been at breaking point due to financial pressures for some time.

National newspaper apologises for misrepresenting Rob

The Independent newspaper has corrected an article referring to comments made about cycle lanes by Rob. 

He asked the question whether the dedication of road space to bikes and resulting reduction in tarmac available to motorised vehicles in our cities might be adding to congestion and called for research into the subject.  The Independent’s Deputy Managing Editor, Will Gore, admitted its website had overstated Rob’s point-of-view and said he was sorry “that our reporting caused concern.” 

Protecting ports vital to national interest post-Brexit

Stoke-on-Trent South MP and chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Freight Transport, Rob Flello, says the government must keep the ports moving after Brexit or risk disaster.

He was speaking after the APPG had heard a presentation from Nicholas Scott-Gray, Chief Executive of Montrose Port Authority (MPA).  Mr Scott-Gray outlined the challenges facing his port and many others like it across the UK, saying that wrongly handled, Brexit could have dire consequences for the industry.  He said, “Tariffs, quotas and new customs clearance regulations could cause significant difficulties.”  He explained that the time taken to move goods through the port was crucial to its competitiveness.  “If we slow down customers will go somewhere else,” he said.

Budget? What Budget?

“There were rumours of a budget today although, frankly, for the transport sector, it’s hard to know if it actually happened.”
That’s the view of Stoke-on-Trent South MP and Transport Select Committee member, Rob Flello, who says today’s announcements were a missed opportunity by the Chancellor.
“In the build-up to Brexit the transport and haulage industries, upon which this country so heavily relies, needed something solid to hold on to, to give them a chance to get onto a competitive footing with our European neighbours.  Instead, they got a few half-hearted scraps which will achieve very little.  Certainly, freezing the HGV Road User Levy and Vehicle Excise Duty for hauliers is of some help as is freezing Fuel Duty, but when you bear in mind that about three-quarters of the cost at the pumps is now tax it’s very small beer.  Before the Budget Britain had the highest duty levels for fuel in the EU, and after it, it still does.”