Tuesday, September 04, 2007
It's a Tax Stupid!
Our dearly "beloved" councils know that they are on to a good thing when it comes to using parking fines to raise revenue by the back door.
They know that given the right incentives, their army of jobsworth traffic wardens will go out issuing tickets and clamping anything that doesn't have a pulse. However, it is always amusing when the local council's schemes are found out and challenged.
Here is a nice example that happened in my home town of Croydon
Aimee Green did not have change when she parked in the Lion Green car park in Coulsdon (part of Croydon), so she paid £1 for her 80p ticket.
On returning to her car 15 minutes later she saw a traffic warden giving her a parking ticket.
She pointed out that she had more than an hour of two hours remaining.
The jobsworth retorted that she was parking illegally, because she didn't put exactly 80p in the machine.
Jobsworth, as quoted by Ms Green:
"Look at the sign, it says 80p.
You put in £1, look at the sign."
He reasoned that he didn't know when it was bought. Therefore, in an attempt to prove she was right, Ms Green put another pound into the meter and showed the warden that the ticket was valid for exactly two hours.
"He said he did not believe me
and I had received the fine because
I had paid for more time than I was allowed."
On being challenged, Croydon Council have cancelled the fine and "spoken to" the warden.
Fair enough, the trouble is that the current system whereby fines are diverted into the revenue streams of local councils is just too tempting for them not to be able to resist "taking a dip" and encouraging their jobsworths to fine anything that moves (or rather doesn't move).
A penalty that is used in effect as a tax, thereby tempting the local authorities to maximise revenues from penalties, is a recipe for trouble.
Trouble is now exactly what they have got, and rightly so!