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Everything posted by IanD

  1. Which is exactly why a flat-rate increase is unfair and won't work. Like peterboat, your position seems to be that neither CaRT or the government want to do anything to fix this, so we should just all throw our hands up in despair and stop trying to find things that might help? I despair about some people -- moan moan moan about problems, then shoot down in flames any suggestions that might try and help fix them. It's almost like some people love moaning more than they love the canals... 😉 Given that attitude, the future of the canals is clearly bright -- not... 😞 Giving up on this now, fed up of banging my head against a moaning brick wall. Good luck to everyone who blames CaRT (or whoever) for everything wrong with the canals, it's obviously not your fault for not paying enough to keep them working...
  2. I'm perfectly aware how expensive buying and maintaining and running a boat is, I've been thinking about it for years. Don't assume that because I don't live on a boat I'm ignorant about this, or because I'm well off I don't understand the plight of the less well-off, or because I live in London I don't understand Yorkshire (go on, guess where I'm from...) So your proposal is basically, CaRT are rubbish, let's just give up and watch the canals fall into ruin? I thought you loved the canals?
  3. Cripes, we're in danger of agreeing here !!! 🙂 I disagree with your assertion that demand is inelastic; certainly it is for the less well-off (but see your first comment), however there are plenty of people living and holidaying on the canals for whom a big increase would be annoying but they'd pay it -- if you've spent 50k or 100k on a boat (and maybe still have a house) you can damn well pay a bigger license fee to maintain the canals it sits on. Same for hire boats, it would put typical hire cost up by something like 5%-10% which is small enough that it would make very little difference to occupancy rates -- if you can afford to hire a boat for 1000 a week, you can afford to hire it for 1050-1100, and the difference won't make you suddenly decide to fly to Ibiza instead. People in the gap between poor (don't pay) and rich (don't care) would be hit, but to be blunt we've all been underpaying for years so complaining about a rise is a bit rich. Absolutely, the current scale of tax avoidance and offshoring profits and blind trusts and tax havens is scandalous, and the current government shows little inclination to do anything about this -- possibly because many MPs and their friends are doing it... 😞
  4. OK, the tax system doesn't work so we should either stop collecting it or make everyone pay the same 'cos it's easier. Same argument for the benefit system, it has problems so let's throw the whole thing in the bin. All very laudable. What would you replace it with? BTW, why is whether the welfare system is broken or not remotely relevant to this discussion? So far objections have included: -- the poor will suffer -- people will be driven off boats -- pensioners will suffer -- the proposed system won't work -- people will fiddle it -- it would be impossible to enforce -- the welfare system is broken -- the tax system is broken -- CaRT is broken -- the government is broken -- CaRT would just waste the money -- CaRT don't need more money, volunteers could do it all -- it's all the EUs fault -- I blame 'elf'n'safety -- I blame subcontractors -- don't give CaRT the idea they might justifiably be able to raise license fees Come on guys, I'm sure if you tried you could come up with more spurious reasons why you personally shouldn't pay more money to keep the canals going, even though you can afford it 😉
  5. I assume you mean cost of verification not enforcement? (enforcement is exactly the same as now i.e. have you got a license?) From your POV there's no point ever having any progressive tax system because it will always be fiddled, so the only solution is to charge everyone the same so the poor can't afford it and the rich laugh it off. I can't believe that you think that's a better solution... 😉 Verification of income/tax/expenditure is already done by banks, mortgage lenders, HMRC and others -- HMRC is the obvious channel since they already deal with income. It depends on how the numbers are crunched and whose particular pot the money goes in and out of; one option would be to charge everyone the highest fee (money goes direct to CaRT) and then poorer people apply for a rebate through some other channel that's already set up to do this (HMRC?) who then cross-charge this in bulk so CaRT doesn't know who pays what. The other option would be to tell CaRT how much to charge in the first place, but there could be data protection issues with this since they'd have to know about people's financial circumstances -- HMRC already knows about this. None of this is difficult, it's exactly what is already done with other tax reliefs and repayments, and the system is already set up to deal with it. It just needs the will to make it happen -- and the general agreement from boaters that a progressive license system (the rich pay more to keep the system going) is acceptable, not mass protests by people who don't see why they should pay more than they're been used to doing, even though they can afford it and it's necessary. I have a suspicion that "could pay but don't want to" protests from the selfish might derail this... 😞
  6. I said earlier that allowing volunteers to do more useful work would be a great idea if the liability issues can be dealt with -- legally it's not that easy for people to sign their H&S rights away, for reasons which should be obvious (unscrupulous exploitative firms). Apart from "throwing money at an empire like CRT", who else could do the essential heavy-duty maintenance work? Volunteers can't build/install lock gates, or do dredging, or do safety-critical work, but they can do lots of other more menial stuff that frees up CaRT staff to do what they can't. One reason this doesn't happen now is there's no incentive; if CaRT pay an outside subcontractor to do maintenance, them using volunteers means they get paid less *and* have to look after them and deal with H&S, so they don't do it. It's quite possible that CaRT could be more cost-effective, a good start would be to bring back skilled in-house teams instead of subcontracting and allowing profits to be creamed off to directors and shareholders. This could also reduce waste on sometimes ludicrous safety precautions done by companies who don't know what they're doing who are ticking generalised boxes, or who aren't aware that there's an easier "canal way" to do something instead of a standardised one. Bringing maintenance back in-house would also allow volunteers to save CaRT money, which doesn't work with subcontractors. If there wasn't an EU directive (which one, or is this a myth?) to stop silt which may be polluted with things like heavy metals and chemicals on the bank, there would very likely have to be an equivalent UK one -- slagging off "elf'n'safety" (or the EU) ignores the fact that it's saved thousands of injuries and lives over the years...
  7. Why is it flawed? Linking taxes/fees to income/wealth works in many other cases, why not this one? Yes a system would need to be devised and put in place to deal with graduated fees, but that's hardly beyond the wit of man, it's far simpler than what HMRC do already. Yes there may be issues with fraud/evasion just like all other tax systems, but this doesn't mean it's not the best solution -- or the least bad one, just like democracy... 😉
  8. A gradual (and graduated) increase in the fee (say, over 5 years) may drive a few people off, but better maintenance should bring more in, admittedly with a delay. But it's clear that the situation as it stands isn't working, so *something* has to change or it'll just carry on getting worse, with more and more stoppages and complaints about poor maintenance. I do understand your point very well, which is precisely why an increased license fee should be graduated -- those on low pensions or low incomes should pay the same as now or maybe even less, those who can afford it (and are effectively underpaying) should pay more. This objection has now been raised a dozen times in spite of the fact that I've explained a dozen times why it's wrong, so please don't do it again 😉
  9. I have to say, this whole discussion fills me with despair 😞 Simply suggesting that since CaRT needs more money for maintenance (anybody disagree?) maybe it would be a good idea if those boaters who can afford it (and have been paying what looks like a very low fee for what they're getting) should pay more towards the cost of the canals -- and that people who can't afford it shouldn't pay more, or even pay less -- has triggered all sorts of spurious objections, many pretending to be worried about other people when the real truth seems to be that people don't want to pay more themselves for what they've been getting too cheaply for years, even though this is partly to blame for the state of the canals. If the end result is a better maintained system which is more attractive to people -- rich or poor -- who want to live on or holiday on it, why are so many people so against this idea? Be honest... 😉
  10. By "non-liveaboards" do you mean people who own/rent a house but also own a boat for holiday/leisure purposes? Why shouldn't people in this situation pay more? The "throw them out of their home" objection doesn't work, they already live in one. They can afford to own and maintain a boat as well as a house and the costs of this are far far higher than the license fee, so if CaRT needs more money to maintain the system they can pay more. If the cost of owning/running a boat goes up a bit, they can either pay up or sell it to somebody who is willing to pay the rate or wants to live on it (who might even be poor). A better maintained canal system will encourage more people to use it and live on it. What's your objection to this strategy?
  11. The difference is that if the state pays for the canals directly everyone gets a "free ride" (pays far less than the cost), including those who aren't on the breadline (who don't deserve/need it), and everyone else in the country pays for them to enjoy themselves on the canals -- which many people would justifiably object to. What's your real objection to a graduated (with income/wealth) license fee, which is what I'm proposing? It works in most other walks of life and would be seen as fair...
  12. I thought you just said they were "on your moorings" -- doesn't that make them liveaboards? If not -- they're leisure boaters who live on the land and use the boat for holidays -- then they can afford a bigger license fee, since they can afford a boat *and* a house they can hardly cry poverty, and the added cost is small compared to owning a holiday boat anyway. You seem to be clutching at any straw to make out that poor people will be disadvantaged one way or another. What I'm really proposing is that the license fee should be graduated just like income tax (in theory, ignoring tax havens), so the poor pay less towards the cost of the canals (maybe even less than now?) and the rich pay more than they do now. What exactly is your objection to this -- is it that you'll pay more? I certainly will every time I hire a boat or if I retire soon and buy one, I'd be happy to do that knowing that I was helping to renew the canal system. How about you?
  13. How many times do I have to repeat the part about people who genuinely can't afford it not paying it? This isn't an attempt to "clean up" the canals or drive people off them, it's exactly the opposite -- a better-maintained system might even persuade more people to holiday on them or even live on them. And objecting that the money might be spent "on the wrong things" is always trotted out -- so does that mean CaRT shouldn't get any extra money to maintain the system from anywhere, because they might piss it up the wall? It sounds like you're resigned to the system continuing to slide hopelessly downhill because "nothing can be done about it" -- I thought you were one of the future-minded boaters given your (admirable) stance on electric power?
  14. Why would boaters leave the system? Poor people wouldn't pay more, the better-off would pay more but still far less than they'd pay on land (or the value of what they're getting), and should feel a nice glow in their hearts to see how well CaRT has spent the extra money on improving the canal system -- in fact a bter-maintained system might even attract more people to the canals if they're no longer put off by all the tales of woe about blockages/stoppages/running aground/water shortages/lock failures... I have a suspicion that people like you objecting on behalf of others (like those "on the breadline", who I *specifically* said shouldn't pay more) are actually objecting because they don't want to pay more themselves even if they could afford it -- but saying this straight out sounds selfish (because it is), so let's claim it's all about the deserving poor 😉
  15. Come on, you can't have it both ways! In one breath you say the problem with my proposal is that people on the breadline will be driven off the canals, than when I say that the state should pay for those who can't afford it -- just like on land -- you object to this !!! Please explain why you think my proposal -- people who can afford to pay more (and are paying very little now compared to other walks of life) do so, those who can't don't -- drive everyone off the canals? We're talking about an amount which is a fraction of the cost of living increase they'd see by moving back to landside. To compare to land living, if mortgage costs go up 10% will this drive everyone to sell their houses -- and if so, where do they live then?
  16. You're completely misinterpreting what I said -- I do care about people "on the breadline", and keep on saying why they shouldn't pay the higher fee and how this could be done. Why do you keep ignoring this? People who can afford to pay more (and complain about CaRT maintenance) should pay more, they're currently paying very little for the benefits they get. People who can't afford it shouldn't pay more, maybe they should even pay less. How difficult it this to understand? Do I have to say it another 10 times before it gets through, or will go carry on throwing insults?
  17. So you still ignored what I said about exactly the kind of people you're talking about -- that those who genuinely can't afford the fee should have it paid for them by welfare, just like it should be if they were on land? Using this to justify asking all those who can afford it to pay more (like you, and me, and many others) is just plain selfish self-interest. Yes my idea isn't ideal, but it seems to me that it's the only fair way to get more money for CaRT from people who freely admit they've been getting something wonderful for very little money, but don't want to pay more for it. A lot of people and the country as a whole do get benefits from the canals but people who live and cruise on them every day undoubtedly get far more; is it fair that they only pay about a tenth of the CaRT budget?
  18. If you choose to basically ignore everything I've said and raise your usual rich Londoner/poor Yorkshireman flag yet again, there's no point discussing this with you any more. I want a sustainable canal system for the foreseeable future, you obviously don't -- or at least, want everyone else to pay for it. We're never going to agree on this...
  19. "Somebody else should pay for what I want to do" You're not being asked to pay the entire cost, you're being asked to pay about a quarter. This seems reasonable to me, somebody else is paying for the other three quarters, and you get to live and travel on the result. Why is this such a bad deal, it's *far* better (and much cheaper) than the one anybody living on land gets?
  20. I do understand the issue. We disagree about how many people would leave the canals because those who can afford it (and not those who don't) are asked to pay an extra license fee of maybe 5% of the cost of renting a flat, which is what they'd have to do if they left.
  21. As I keep saying -- you don't like my solution, what's yours? One that might actually work? Where do CaRT get an extra 50M a year from? Come on, you've excluded everybody else's suggestions... 😉
  22. So what's your estimate, having cast doubt on mine? As I said that 10%/90% figure is an informed guesstimate, but it wouldn't matter if it was 20%/80%, all that means is that we'd risk losing the majority of the network instead of the vast majority. It's obvious that most of the network is basically there for the benefit of boaters, most of the public only ever see a tiny part of it. Denying this is denying reality...
  23. And those same numbers look at each waterway as a whole. Anyone cruising the network can see that even ignoring differences between waterways (which are huge), the activity is very unevenly spread even on one waterway. Nobody's denying the overall benefit, but to say that it's evenly spread goes against any cursory observation.
  24. Yes it's speculative. It's based on looking at where people are on the canals. If you looked, I expect you'd see the same thing.. 😉 [does anyone else think that all the activity is equally spread over the network?]
  25. What is "unreasonable"? If lots of boaters say "We want maintenance to be done properly" and CaRT say "We need 50M a year to do that, here;s the bill", how is that unreasonable? Or if people don't want to pay more, stop whining about how badly maintained the network is and it's all going to pot and it wasn't like this in the old days and it's all CaRT's fault. No it isn't, it's your fault for having short arms and deep pockets...
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