Wednesday, March 23, 2011

How about a fuel duty rebate policy for business?

Fuel duty, now their a bitch. Personally, in an ideal world, I would see it slashed massively, but I have to be realistic right, so here's a thought for what really ought to happen, and it's not so much a stabiliser as a means of altering the relationship that Government and the Treasury assumes with those it fleeces.

The relationship I'm talking about for the Treasury is one that is perfectly explained in Yes Minister with the comment that,
"The Treasury does not work out what it needs and then think how to raise the money. It pitches for as much as it can get away with and then thinks how to spend it."
Never a truer word spoken, and fuel duty is a place where it ought to change. You see, the Treasury knows, roughly speaking, how much petrol is consumed each year based on its tax receipts, and when those prices rise it inevitably gets a lot more than it was expecting.

Now it's difficult to see how you could introduce a mean of only getting the amount you set out for at the beginning of the year in fuel tax from the ordinary consumer, as the ordinary consumer may not have a personal relationship with the Treasury in terms of tax, but a business does.

A business can already claim the VAT back on fuel, so the Treasury knows how much fuel business buys, and it also knows how much tax it gets from business for that fuel. So here's an idea, how about deciding each year, based on what is known, how much the Treasury wants from fuel tax, and then, after VAT returns have been submitted, doing a bit of maths and rebating that which has been paid above and beyond the desired figure for the year?

Now I imagine some would critcise such an idea noting things like inflation, and economic changes etc. The thing is, those things effect the current situation as well. However, I return back to the Yes Minister quote. Shouldn't the Treasury be deciding how much it wants and, where possible, seek to get that, rather than taking over and above what it actually requires?

I;d love to see something for ordinary consumers, but the truth is, haulage and commerce is being crippled by fuel prices. Deciding how much you want and then rebating those business will have a positive effect on their ability to trade and thereby grow.

Now... feel free to shoot me down in flames and call me a retard if you must in the comments.

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