Sunday, February 18, 2007

This is What Your Taxes Pay For

In 2000 the Home Office has signed a twelve year computer leasing contract with EDS for 25,000 (yes, 25,000!) computers. The annual lease cost of each laptop is a whopping £2,800 - more than double the cost of some of the most expensive laptops on today's market. This deal should be examined by the National Audit Office.

However, all is not lost. the News of the World reveals that the Treasury is wallowing in loads of money which the Government has robbed from motorists over the last ten years...

Parking Fines - doubled to £1.2 billion
Speeding Fines - up eightfold to £120 million pa
VAT on fuel - up from £4.3 billion to £6.8 billion
Fuel tax - up from £19.4 billion to £25.2 billion
Road tax - up from £4.5 billion to £5.5 billion

The annual tax bill for drivers has nearly doubled over the last ten years to a massive £45 billion a year. And now they want us to pay more through road pricing. In theory road pricing is a good idea if they cut the equivalent amount off fuel duty or road tax. Can you really see that happening? No, nor can I.


Sabretache said...

Agreed - Road pricing IS a good idea, and far more equitable than the current hot-potch of motoring related taxation; but - and it's a BIG BUT - just take a cursory look at the technology likely to underpin it and I doubt anyone with concerns about the creeping 'Surveillance State' will be sanguine about it

Anonymous said...


my nhs laptop cost less than £700. What will the home office be doing with theirs? maybe they need the computing power to work out a) how to compress space in order to fit more prisoners into the same number of prison places or b) to count the number of economic migrants from eastern europe or c)to estimate the cost of introducing ID cards.

Or maybe they just want to play computer games so they can feel in tune with the ASBO generation

Anonymous said...

Yes, but is this cost inclusive or exclusive of 'servicing and support' such as keeping anti-virus software updated, providing technical support helplines etc. ??

IBM and FujitsuSiemens provide such contracts, and I think you need to be comparing 'like with like' before you 'shoot from the hip' here.

Also, there is a 'finance' cost to consider, and a 'return to shareholders'. All very well for you to complain about the cost, but you are the first one to shout about how we should be using the 'more efficient' private sector in preference to the public sector.

Unknown said...

How is fining someone for breaking the law by speeding an instance of the government 'robbing' us?

Read political betting today - it's spot on regarding this issue.

Old BE said...
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Anonymous said...

People have a choice as to whether they run a car or not. I got rid of my car, so don't have to worry about these taxes. If you choose to make the bed of relying on a car, then I am afraid you are going to lie in it.

If you don't like it there's a very simple solution. Ditch the car.

Anonymous said...

What is this pejorative nonsense about 'robbed from motorists' ?

This tax is going to pay pensions and keep the NHS together - the money has to come from somewhere. If it wasn't on indirect taxation on private car transport [on which people have a choice] it would have to come from Direct Taxation like Income Tax.

Frankly I would rather it comes as a tax on pollution and wasteful gas guzzlers, as it may help to provoke a change in behaviour to more fuel efficient vehicles.

Good also to see that the 'protest' against the congestion charge was a 'damp squib' yesterday. It shows people know what a benefit this is to London, in managing traffic.

Anonymous said...

What I'm reading on the news now is that Tony Blair is going to send a message to the 1.3 million people who have signed the petition saying in essence that they're wrong.

So in other words, another example of "we'll listen to your opinions to make you feel like part of the process, and then ignore you because we know best. Vote Labour!"

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 1:12 - let me guess (and this is a wild stab in the dark here). You live in an urban area with good public transport links.

If I was really going out on a limb, I'd say London.


Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

As a special deal for you Iain, I am prepared to give you a discount for 18DS. Shall we say 2,799.99 each?

Theo Spark said...

Are these for new useage or just to replace all the ones that have been lost. I forget the figure but the MOD loses hundreds a year. I hate to think how many the other departments lose.

Anonymous said...

"It's the apotheosis of a New Labour policy, a highly evolved and inescapable double whammy that combines taxation and snooping in one simple device, a device which, by the way, the already burdened taxpayer will be expected to buy at a cost of £200. New Labour's backroom boys have come up with the equivalent of the self-cleaning oven or set-top box. All that remains is for Rupert Murdoch to be given the exclusive contract for supplying the inboard tracker"
Henry Porter Observer

Peter Black said...
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Anonymous said...

It's clear how important taxes are to everyone-except Dave!
He thinks he's halfway to victory.
Might that not be halfway to defeat?

unothordox behaviour said...

The problem with road charging - and we can discount the central London experiment as it mostly affected business traffic and was in the area in the country with the most dense public transport provision - is that drivers will feel, rightly, backed into a corner.

Elsewhere, they are told to work and they do, the car allowing people to take jobs that 20 years ago they could never have reached.

However, now the government wants to road charge to keep cars off the roads, espcially at peak times. Drivers feel cornered by this behaviour. It's not as if the trains are empty or the buses are running every 15 min.

Perhaps the government hangers on on this site might reflect that juggling a job and children almost certainly demands a car. Mrs Livingstone has one, after all.

Still, carry on. You will be beaten into a pulp at the polls. Look at the electoral map of London. The councils to the west of the London C-Charge have turned blue, as have the MPs - aside from Battersea where Linton hung on by 150 votes or so.

Linton's assistant rang me on the eve of the last general election and asked if was voting for him. No. She wanted to know why not and I told her 'the C-Charge'.

'Can I put that down as transport', she asked hopefully. 'Stop kidding yourself, it's the C-Charge'.

The only people who will be made happy by non-hypothocated, add-on road charges are the old trots who sleep with a copy of the Sneed report under their pillows.

Anonymous said...

Driving is no longer a pleasure it's a chore.

I don't live in an urban area but when the price of petrol went through the roof I decided to only ever use my car for work. My Petrol bill is down 40% and my kids and I get plenty of exercise.

I say more car taxes and less council tax.

So the kids scream a little bit

Anonymous said...
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Mark Valladares said...


I thought that Conservatives were supposed to be fiscally competent...

Do these figures allow for indexation, which would account for a 30% increase over ten years? If not, and I very much suspect that they don't, then the take from fuel tax and road tax has actually dropped in real terms over ten years.

VAT on fuel is linked to the sale price of the fuel, and the base cost has gone up substantially in the interim.

Parking fines aren't levied by the government but by local councils (some of which are run by Conservatives administrations, I recall) and speeding fines, a miniscule proportion of the total being debated, are a penalty for breaking the law, or do you encourage such behaviour?

Now I have no love of this Government, but if you're going to attack them, aren't there enough things that they're actually guilty of?

Gavin said...

Well, hooray for you then, anon 3:51. Unfortunately your scenario doesn't fit everybody.
Is there something inherently wrong with having a car and using it as you please? I don't think so.

Anonymous said...

"If you dont like it ditch the car"

I have several other idears then ditching my car. Which I dont think you will like.

Which include.

Leaving Britain pemanately, takeing all my accumalated wealth and production of it, somewhere else.

Spending as much time driving and spending money in other countries.

Voting for a political party that scraps the tax, or at least uses the cash to reduce the tottal amount of taxation.

Riding a motor bike or pedle cycle as much as possible, and very possibly ending up in a wheelchair for the rest of my life. As a close friend of mine has resently done. She is 47 and has 5 children to support.

Giving up productive activity and claiming more family tax credits to fund my exsistance. So those stupid or desperate enough to still be working, get taxed out of productive work even quicker.

Drive an untaxed unregistered and uninsured car, and sod the consequences. What have I got to lose, a driving liecence I have not got or cant aford to use anymore, anyway?

All state tax is anti-freedom and whats even worse then that, counter productive. All finacial transactions between organisations that are not under full fiscal control from their investers are potentialy corrupt and where government is concerned, always are.

If you continue voting for unaccountable proven crooks to run your finacial affairs never mind your country and its laws, you will end up as no more then paid slaves to the state. Lacking even the confidence to tie your own shoe laces without a government inspector to show you how.

You will also fully deserve what you get, and your children will have to untimately pay the full cost of your folly, possibly with their lives.

These measures along with many others make the continuence of this or any other future, fascist socialist government essential. This by creating an ever increasing underclass, compleatly incapeable of making any decisions for themselves even if they still wanted to.

Apart from these and many more reasons, I do not choose to bore and depress you all with right now, road priceing is an excellent idear.

Peter Smallbone said...
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Anonymous said...

Mark said...
How is fining someone for breaking the law by speeding an instance of the government 'robbing' us?

Because we all, briefly, often for very compellng and innocent reasons - such as exaustion after sitting in an unexpected traffic queue for an hour following a 10 hour work day - inadvertently speed at some time or other...or maybe you're claiming that you don't mark?

It is grossly unfair to fine a law abiding, hard working person for, very briefly, unintentionally exceeding the speed limit by, say, one mile an hour in the sort of circumstances outlined above.

It is even more grossly unfair that this happens in the double standard society we live in. Ome rule for polticians, another law for the rest of us.

Do you really believe that greedy, nose in the trough politicians who, for example, have exempted themselves from paying tax on their huge, elitist pensions, pay parking fines? Course they don't.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 1.17 PM said...
This tax is going to pay pensions and keep the NHS together - the money has to come from somewhere.

Oh, pul-eease. Exactly whose pensions does it pay? The elitist pensions of our political and public services no doubt. Why should they have substantially larger pensions than hard working people in the private sector - and whay should we pay for this with grossly unfair parking fines?

Why should politicians' huge pensions be tax free too?

Remind me please, exactly how much will Blair walk away from Downing Street with as his reward for destroying our country?

£31K golden handshake, 80K annually as soon as he walks out of number 10, plus another £120K odd annually when he hits 60.

No way should hard working people be forced to pay for that gross injustice through a grossly unfair fine system.

Auntie Flo'

towcestarian said...

EU Referendum blog has (as ever) an interesting slant to the pay-as-you-drive story
So, basicallly: the EU spends a fortune to launch a French inspired, comperitor to the American GPS system - called Galileo. It then finds it is economically and technically a dud and coerces - sorry "ecourages" other EU governments to launch gradiose car tracking systems to make the white elehant pay for itself.

And if that wasn't bad enough, try Googling Galileo and China and give yourself a real scare.

Mostly Ordinary said...
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Anonymous said...

The more I think of Blair's pending pot of gold, the more it angers me. Given the huge damage the man has done to our country - and others, notably Iraq and its people - why are we paying him a huge bonus for nothing?

There has to be some legitimate means of cancelling Blair's pension. Justice and common sense demand it.

Blair's a war criminal and criminals are legally prevented from benefiting from the proceeds of their crimes. So the answer is obviously to get him up before a war crimes tribunal asap.

Auntie Flo'

Anonymous said...

paul - we need more stories like this - the incompetence showed by this over-ordering stinks, especially in the NHS - I think you should name and shame the area involved, if that is possible.

Anonymous said...

The petition against road pricing and vehicle tracking has crashed again this for the umpteenth time.

Good way of keeping the number of protestors down, eh, Mr Blair?

This petition must be allowed a time extension as so many others that didn't get a fraction of the support that this one has have been extended.

Chris Paul said...

Hi Iain

What is say 3% per annum compounded for 10 years? How much has your pundit fee gone up over the last ten years? How about average earnings? Are these rises in line with averages rises in income or not?

And some of these e.g. parking and speeding are somethingly hypothecated.

Best w

Chris P

ian said...

A laptop can easily cost more than 3 grand. Just because you can pick one up for a few hundred quid doesn't mean you should.

"Since 1997, the cost of private education is up nearly 50% and the price of a typical holiday is up 40%. Home insurance is up 12% and car insurance has rocketed 77%." (

Bloody labour government.

Mark Valladares said...

Anonymous (7.15),

No, never broken the speed limit, but then I can't drive (something to do with a feared inability to relaiably steer a large metal contraption, I think).

Very few speeding fines are for exceeding the speed limit by 1 mph, as the equipment used is unreliable for such marginal calls. Besides, frustration is hardly a viable excuse for breaking the law.

And, naturally, I believe that laws should be applied to all equally, without fear or favour. Just because some politicians are hypocrites, that doesn't make a law any more or less valid.

Anonymous said...


The cost of private education has risen so dramatically because the demand has soared while supply remains pretty much fixed.

Laptops on the other hand are becoming more and more powerful and more and more plentiful.

And some very high end laptops do cost more than three grand. Indeed the one I use fits into that category, but that is due to the nature of my work. I spend large parts of every day doing some very high end number crunching in massive volumes. Somehow I doubt that all 25,000 of those Home Office staffers will be doing that sort of maths. My guess is most will be reading e-mails, writing memos, making powerpoint slides and perhaps the odd spreadsheet.

Anonymous said...

Excellent - the Home Office has got some new, top of the range computers. No complaints there... Maybe they'll get around to putting some data on it?

Anonymous said...

When the English again take charge of their own country I very much hope that all the relationships between EDS and the civil service will be examined in detail, with public executions to follow.

Anonymous said...

Iain can you tell me where you found the story about the contract? I work for a small business lobby that is researching how large firms conclude such shady deals for goods at exorbitant prices with government departments when each laptop could have been provided by a small business with greater customer service at much less cost. Was this contract ever publicly advertised?

Anonymous said...

sorry but if you 'outsource' your IT you are asking to be ripped off - especially by the likes of texas cowboys EDS. The truely are a bunch of cowboys - they don't deliver VFM services or goods and look for more loop holes in order to charge the likes of the DWP et al for the goods and services they need from their IT.
Govt needs to wake up and smell the coffee over this - pay market prices for hardware and a seperate service charge (per call or service they want).