Monday January 29th 2024
Driving around, I cannot recall a worse state of our roads and don’t get me started on tailbacks with roadworks!
I got stuck in one on the Penicuik to Edinburgh Road on Friday, took a detour through Rosewell to the A7 which probably took me longer but at least I was moving.
Back to potholes. Indeed, like many I found myself, or at least my car, a victim of a pothole which for once I had not seen soon enough and on Christmas day to boot. Big bang from the rear of the car then big bill at garage followed as the suspension was fixed. Now this is not simply an issue for Scotland because a recent report by the RAC stated (and this they consider an underestimate) that there are at least one million potholes across the UK. Yes, they are not all on the Auchendinny Road or the A701.
I raised this in Parliament and no I am not blaming Midlothian Council or the Scottish Government when hard choices have to be made about funding increased costs for heating schools for example, or giving deserved pay increases (and the increased pension costs which follow). No, I am looking at the £1.7 billion raked in by the UK Treasury last year in Road Tax (They call it Vehicle Excise Duty). No wonder it was renamed because not one penny of that is ringfenced for roads. If you add in fuel duty (which we pay at the pump) then the total from motorists is £35 billion to the Treasury.
None of this applies to electric cars. This is another injustice. Solutions have been discussed such as taxing folk on their mileage but think how unfair that would be in rural areas which much of Midlothian is and where the option of public transport is pretty remote (excuse pun).
But back to where I started. It’s time the Scottish Parliament had control over more taxes and Road Tax would be a good place to begin. Then we could ensure that at least some of that cash went to the road network or are we forever to slalom our way around the country?Tweet Share on Facebook