It has been announced by this week that they are planning to go ahead with their plans to introduce a new tax on people as they travel to work in Manchester every day. Of course, that is not exactly how the Government put it! It is far more stealthy than that. Dressed up as a Congestion Charge whose job it is to reduce traffic jams I for one can see through this. The reason why the Government are forcing the new tax on us all is that they need to raise finance to repay the huge billion pound plus loan which is partly financing the proposed improvements to public transport. What concerns me is that if by some miracle the new tax is very successful and people suddenly stop travelling to work in the morning the expected revenue will fall dramatically … but the loan will still need to be repaid so what will happen then? The Government is silent on this point but I predict that before long the tax would be introduced 24 hours a day so there is no way of escaping. The loans will have to repaid somehow.
Of course, this is all ties up with the complex structure which is local government in Greater Manchester. In another fig leaf to try and remove the Government from the firing line this new tax will only be introduced if the ten Councils that together make up Greater Manchester agree. Of course. in the past when Labour controlled just about everything in Greater Manchester this would have been a formality not so now!