Monday, 29 November 2010

The Runcorn Bridge and the oncoming of the final straw

Runcorn, if the Hitch Hikers guide to the Galaxy were to describe it, the phrase "Mostly Harmless" would be quite accurate. The main problem with it is that to get to one of the nearest places of work, Liverpool.  You need to travel across the Runcorn  - Widnes bridge. This was opened in 1961 and designed to carry about 9,000 vehicles a day, at the moment it carries about 90,000,  so at peak times you move at about 4 MPH across it, snails sometimes overtake you.

But salvation is at hand as a new bigger better bridge is to be built, the problem here is that this will be a toll bridge and the toll for crossing it is currently put at £1.40 each way. Of course to ensure that people use this new crossing the government and local authorities will be making the currently free bridge a toll bridge too. So this is effectively another tax on people like you and me for travelling to work.

You see, I work in Aintree and to get to and from work I have to cross the Mersey, the distance to my job is about 23 miles each way which is about a gallon of diesel and the cost is about £5.00. Once the bridge is open, my daily travelling expense will increase by 50% probably meaning that I will have to look for another job. I could of course use a different route and go through Warrington but this is probably worse than going across the existing bridge at the moment.

So now it's time to do some maths, as I said above there are about 90,000 crossings each day, let's just say that each one of these is a car to make things easier to work out as lorries will pay a higher toll than a car. 90,000 x £1.40 means that the new toll will generate £126,000 a day, over a year this will bring in £6,552,000. I don't know who will get this cash but if it brought our council tax down a bit I would say money well spent.

Lets now have a look at things from a taxation point of view, the government currently take about £27 a day from me in tax, on top of that is duty on the fuel that I use to travel to work which on a gallon of fuel is about £4.50, then we add £.2.80 toll to that which brings the total to  £34.30. If my rate of pay is about £9.00 an hour, this means that I only start earning money for myself in the afternoon and all the cash that I earn in the morning is used to pay tax. Once you take national insurance and VAT into consideration you see that I pay over half of my wages in tax in one form or another.

I have to say that this annoys the crap out of me