The abolition of
every car and van in the UK needing to display a car tax disc has led to the
tripling of the number of untaxed cars and soaring prosecutions and fines for
drivers, according to the latest annual report of the DVLA, the Driver and
Vehicle Licensing Agency.
The scale of the problem led to a report from the new auditor
general, Gareth Davies, to be attached to its annual accounts this year after
the agency’s previous unblemished record in collecting car tax became tarnished.
Up to 2014 when the car tax disc was abolished the agency collected up to 99.6 per cent of revenue. Since then the figure has fallen to 98.2 per cent – which might seem small – but is equivalent to an additional 500,000 vehicles evading tax. It is happening because people are telling the DVLA their vehicle is stored off the road but are continuing to use it.
Disruptive protests are seen mainly but not exclusively as the preserve of the young. Whether it is blocking roads like Extinction Rebellion or organising street protests they are not the natural first choice of people old enough to be grandparents..
Yet the government’s refusal to even discuss any compensation with 3.8 million women born in the 1950s who are now waiting up to six years longer to get a pension has seen the first disruptive action organised by ” oldies” in the capital.
First there was a rally in Hyde Park and march which ended in Parliament Square where spontaneously some of the protestors blocked the road forcing the police to divert traffic for nearly two hours.
Then there has been an extraordinary partnership with young people in a guerrilla marketing organisation to project on to prominent buildings like the House of Commons, the Bank of England and the law courts – slogans demanding action to redress the problem. I am told there are no laws to stop anyone projecting slogans on any building. It also included one of my blogs revealing the Thatcher government’s decision to all but end the Treasury contribution to the National Insurance Fund.
Then in the dead of night graffiti started to appear on the pavements outside prominent London landmarks with slogans as part of the BackTo60 campaign to compensate the women.
Here are some of the pictures:
None of this has been reported in mainstream media. And the public who see the graffiti may be puzzled about what it is all about.
But there is a deeper issue. This particular group of women are a large bedrock of the older generation. They have been until now mainly apolitical, bringing up their families, going to work and living normal lives.
But the total refusal of the government to even discuss the issue has transformed this. Shocked by this attitude they are becoming radicalised and for the government this is very bad news. They did form a large part of the group who traditionally voted Conservative. Very few will vote Conservative at the next general election. Some will vote Labour, some Liberal Democrat, Plaid Cymru or Scottish Nationalist, some the Brexit Party and some not at all.
This means given the antipathy to the Tories among the young that many Tory MPs who think they have secure majority may find themselves out of a job at the next general election. And the government will only have itself to blame for not listening to them.
Chris Grayling, the transport secretary, is facing a fresh
fiasco over new ferry contracts to bring in goods if Britain leaves the EU on
The minister known as “Failing Grayling” has already cost
some £3.5 billion in lost revenue and overspending in his three ministerial
jobs since 2010.
A report from the Commons public accounts committee today reveals he just 21 days left to re-order contracts to bring in supplies if either Boris Johnson or Jeremy Hunt sticks to the Oct 31 deadline – deal or no deal.
Benefit error and fraud has reached record levels at the
Department for Work and Pensions and it is going to get worse, according to its
own figures released in its annual report for the last financial year.
For the 30th year
running the National Audit Office has qualified the ministry’s £86.6 billion
benefit accounts because it considers them to be inaccurate
The most damning section of the report is on Universal Credit – whose current and previous directors – have just received bonus payments up to £15,000 each for their work.
While MPs were enjoying drinks and snacks in parties and receptions across London last week – I admit I was at one in the gardens of Westminster Abbey – a team of intrepid campaigners from BackTo60 took to the streets with the support Media Gang Guerrilla Marketing.
They stopped outside the Bank of England, The Law Courts in the Strand and opposite the House of Parliament to project images backing the 50s bornwomen campaign. One of my blogs was projected on the Bank of England and the Backto60 logo appeared on the side of Parliament overlooking the Thames.
Certainly if nothing else this campaign is creative – equal to some of the stunts of the younger generation. They should be proud that people never give up campaigning.
Secret ministry documents reveal that successive government
ministers and Whitehall officials failed over two decades to tell over 3.8
million women born in the 1950s that they would lose their pensions for up to six
The documents – made public in last month’s judicial review – call into question whether the ministry was up to the job to properly inform millions of people of such a drastic change to their retirement plans.
For those who are not yet following me on Byline there is now a two part investigation by me into the cost – both financial and personally damaging – to British taxpayers of cabinet minister Chris Grayling. His nine years in office – from Employment Minister to Lord Chancellor and now Transport secretary – have brought misery to millions of people whether they are rail commuters, prisoners, victims of criminal attacks or faced discrimination at work. Some people have even had to plead guilty to criminal offences they did not commit to save money. Others have become victimised twice because of the debacle of his probation privatisation programme.You read the two part series in bylinehereand here.