Reply to post: Re: So go hybrid

Full shift to electric vans would melt Royal Mail's London hub, MPs told

Philip Storry

Re: So go hybrid

"you do realise that when the government subsidises its actually us citizens that are doing the subsidising. its not free money or coming out of the governments pockets, its coming out of OUR pocket as tax payers."

Yes, I do realise that.

So if we're talking about air quality, what will be the most effective way to spend money? The government can't ban transportation as such. (Small pedestrianised zones may help, but you can't do that everywhere!)

Larger cities can afford some kind of congestion charging, but smaller cities and towns can't.

You can increase road taxes on vehicles that pollute.

You can give tax breaks for newer, less polluting vehicles. That's effectively a per-vehicle subsidy.

You could also give loans for fleet replacements - the government can borrow money at a very low rate, so backing those loans isn't difficult.

You could even give grants for those replacements, which require no repayment.

So that's one tax, and three possible methods of subsidy, each trying to use financial levers to reach the goal of cleaner air.

Is taxation the best method? That may have an effect. But it may be an unintended effect - companies may reduce the services as they try to do the same job with a smaller fleet. Taxes can work well for individual decisions, but they affect organisations in a very different manner.

Are the subsidies better? Well, how much will we spend on healthcare for children whose respiratory development is affected by air quality? Are there other costs associated with the air quality?

A subsidy is not the automatic answer, nor is it necessarily the best answer. But it could well be.

Other answers are available, such as restricting deliveries to certain times - these also have their own costs and benefits.

Your mistake is to look at it as one pot. Government is huge, and the "one pot" analysis frequently fails.

There's a great example that's being repeated a lot recently - DWP assessments removing the lease of a Motobility adapted car, on the grounds that the person "isn't sick enough." But then approving a taxi to and from work - because the local council pays for that. It gets it off their budget and onto someone else's. You can find multiple stories in the news about this, and it usually costs at least £10,000 more for the taxis than for the Motobility leased car.

However, based on your behaviour here, we have to assume that you'd simply be raging that the Motobility car is coming out of OUR taxes, and is therefore bad value for money.

As a society, we have to ask ourselves what the goals are and then take a look at how we can achieve them. Sometimes, the answers are counter-intuitive and require explanation. That should not prevent us from pursuing them.

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