Sunday, 23 October 2005

Ferry cross the North Sea

It's rather sad to read that Scotland's ferry link with Belgium will now be using one vessel instead of two. I've not used the service but have heard good reports from those who have.
It saves passengers and truckers having to drive via Hull or the English Channel ports.

Each ferry can carry more than 1,000 passengers, 120 cars and 100 commercial vehicles.

Figures contained in the 2004 annual report of parent company Attica Group show passenger numbers slipped from 196,000 in 2003 to 192,400 last year.

But freight traffic grew significantly during the same period, with the total number of units being shipped rising from 32,500 in 2003 to 40,300.

Opposition politicians are demanding that "something must be done". Actually, I agree, but my solution is probably not one that would appeal to the Scottish National Party. What we need is a complete privatisation of the road network and a proper system of road pricing. I have read that the government uses different methods of cost benefit analysis for road and rail projects, to the detriment of rail. Let's privatise the lot. We can't find out until after the event, but I have a sneaking suspicion that a free market in transport would not only be good for the railway industry but also benefit long distance ferries.

1 comment:

David Farrer said...

Comments made on previous template:

Interesting point. However Parliament allows a government much discretion in taxation, including on what to spend the public money. A government can spend it on unpopular services, or services that might get it re-elected; regardless, these may not be the priorities of the main providers of national tax - businesses, who don't get a vote. Moreover, Parliament's checks and balances on government expenditure have proved to be grossly inadequate. 
A letter in today's press< suggests that government priorities should lean more toward business.

25 October 2005, 09:18:10 GMT+01:00
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"should taxes be spent on growing the public sector or encouraging exports?" 
Neither: if you don't need tax money for statutory spending, return it to the pockets whence it came.

25 October 2005, 01:24:00 GMT+01:00
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The posting raises indirectly the question of taxation. 
First the amount of tax. Parliament legislated many years ago for value for money from public spending; but putting this into practice proved to be unacceptable politically - the European Central Bank reckons the UK suffers a increasing tax burden of £80 billion pounds a year because of this. 
Secondly, should taxes be spent on growing the public sector or encouraging exports? 
Businessonline has an especially provocative take today.

23 October 2005, 12:56:51 GMT+01:00