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Is the current infrastructure really any worse than the 70s 80s?


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5 minutes ago, Tracy D'arth said:

I think you could be better off on land now.

 

Boating is a leisure pursuit, not housing, and will get more expensive

 

And a house today is an investment opportunity, not housing, and will get more expensive... 😞

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3 hours ago, IanD said:

Which is why the fee would have to be (and should be?) much more graduated than it is today...

But the issue is on what basis it is graduated. Boater income is not likely to be a viable mechanism not least because it does not stack with a move to take the cost of canals out of the public sector. (A privatised industry will not look kindly on anything that requires it also to be a social service. It did not go well when the govt opted to do this to the BBC)

 

Overall, which is better: to subsidise lower income people at the income or expenditure points?

 

If it is considered a social good to enable low income people to be able to have a boat (whether or not residential) is it better to subsidise the licence fee or to enhance their income? Doing the former reduces freedom of choice and also reduces the awareness of the true cost. (Just as one of the side effects of having the NHS is that most people have no idea of the cost of any treatment they receive)

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30 minutes ago, Mike Todd said:

But the issue is on what basis it is graduated. Boater income is not likely to be a viable mechanism not least because it does not stack with a move to take the cost of canals out of the public sector. (A privatised industry will not look kindly on anything that requires it also to be a social service. It did not go well when the govt opted to do this to the BBC)

 

Overall, which is better: to subsidise lower income people at the income or expenditure points?

 

If it is considered a social good to enable low income people to be able to have a boat (whether or not residential) is it better to subsidise the licence fee or to enhance their income? Doing the former reduces freedom of choice and also reduces the awareness of the true cost. (Just as one of the side effects of having the NHS is that most people have no idea of the cost of any treatment they receive)

 

There were big discussions/arguments about this on an earlier thread, like anything else it comes down to whether you charge by usage or ability to pay -- and every possible system will always be called out as "unfair" by *somebody*...

 

The first point is to recognise that if more badly needed money is to be brought in by licensing then it *has* to be graduated over a much bigger range than today. Council tax bands vary over a 3:1 range and I think that most people would say this is too small, especially at the expensive end of the market where high-value properties pay a tiny fraction of their value compared to low-value ones, and that something like 10:1 would be fairer. The same applies to boats on the canals, whether you look at usage/load on the system or cost/value.

 

What is needed is some banding which takes things into account like boat size (length and width -- but more width weighting than today), possibly usage of the system (CCing or moored), and boat value -- because like housing this is a proxy for the ability of the boater to pay, albeit not a perfect one. If someone can afford to buy and run a shiny new £200k boat then it's extremely likely that they can afford to pay more towards canal upkeep than somebody in an old £20k wreck that barely floats -- because for starters they're already spending a lot per year on depreciation and the loss of interest if they'd done something more sensible with the money, and if they can afford that then they can afford a bigger license fee.

 

Houses in many (most?) countries pay a tax based on the value of the house/land, and this is mostly seen as much fairer then a restricted banding system like we have here for council tax (or boats). I fail to see what the objection is to applying the same principle to boats...

 

But last time CART suggested something sensible like this (not boat value, though...) they were shouted down -- by protests from the NBTA and friends IIRC... 😞

Edited by IanD
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2 hours ago, Alan de Enfield said:

 

 

As I have proven each time you suggest this, it is illegal for C&RT to charge for, or restrict access to, the towpaths.

 

Ah, but what about charging for exiting the towpath? 

 

Turnstiles to get off the towpath at a £1 a go. That should fix it... 😉

 

After a how many millions of visitors did CRT claim they had every year?  🤣😂🤣

 

 

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C&RT could charge for entry to, or exit from the towpaths with the approval of the Government and amendments to the Terms of Settlement.

I cannot imagine that any Government is going to waste time in light of the current food, power, & military situation acroos Europe and the world.

 

THIS TRUST SETTLEMENT is made on __________________________ between:

 

(A) THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR ENVIRONMENT, FOOD AND RURAL AFFAIRS of Nobel House, 17 Smith Square, London SW1P 3JR (the “Settlor”); and

 

(B) CANAL & RIVER TRUST, a company limited by guarantee with its registered office at First Floor North, Station House, 500 Elder Gate Milton Keynes MK9 1BB (Charity Number 1146792 and Company Number 07807276) (the “First Trustee”)

 

 

 

The Trustee must obtain the Settlor’s prior written consent before:

 

2.4.1 disposing of any part of the Infrastructure Property

a) by way of freehold; or

b) by way of any leasehold disposal that would have the effect of restricting any generally available public access to the Infrastructure Property existing at the time of the disposal (for the avoidance of doubt the Parties agree that all towpaths are generally available to public access at the time of disposal);

 

2.4.2 seeking to amend this Settlement in any way (and any such amendment shall be ineffective without the Settlor’s prior written consent);

 

2.4.3 restricting pedestrian access to any part of the towpaths within the Infrastructure Property; for example by charging a fee for access, save that consent will not be needed for any temporary restrictions either to allow maintenance/repair works or to protect persons from risks to their safety;

 

2.4.4 diverting the route of any towpath or part of a towpath, other than as permitted at Clause 3.5.1; and 2.4.5 carrying out any activities requiring the Settlor’s consent specified in any agreement between the Settlor and the Trustee or other arrangement

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3 hours ago, IanD said:

You mean in an ideal world where only 30000 boaters and the canal infrastructure to keep them happy was all that mattered, and the government was willing to cough up a load of money just for their benefit?

 

That would indeed be a nice world to be a boater in, but it's not the real world 😞

 

CART have to try and entice non-boaters -- lots of them -- to use the canals -- meaning, the towpath -- to keep the government money tap open, as Richard Parry made very clear in his "Address to Boaters".

 

Instead of just complaining, how do you suggest this could all be fixed? 😉

Huh? Gadget? Don't understand... 😞

 

I'm saying that as somebody on a cheap old small narrowboat outside the honeypots, you'd pay the same or maybe even less than today -- how does that not help you?

 

[And people like me would pay a lot more, but that seems fair to me]

By gadget I mean that a  payment scheme which takes in to consideration the ability to pay cannot be dependent on  people providing disposable income information. The only scheme which works like that is the government benefit scheme.

I suppose people who can't afford to live in an expensive marina could find a cheaper one, but it's not a great plan if the cheap mooring has no transport links or other services.

Edited by LadyG
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6 hours ago, Creaking Gate said:

Reading this thread is like reading posts on Narrowboat world.  You were pretty active on there as well Midnight.   

 

We all want cheaper costs, quicker routes and less delays.  Journeys much, much easier. More and more boats, more and more people.  The government want to fund less and take less ownership; add that all up and you get some decline, its inevitable. 

 

The other things i note is that very often locks, bridges etc are damaged through misuse and/or vandalism; which is difficult to plan for and when it does happen drags funding away from other areas. 

 

Maybe we all need to pay more to enjoy what we do.  Costs are rising the world over, not sure how or why the canal would escape that.

 

I will admit that Local waterways during the late 90's/early 2000's seemed to achieve better results, and you certainly saw the 'same' lengths men - you never see that now.  I think there was more ownership of an area than there is today, at least as i see it - I used to know some LM on 1st name terms - not now, and not for the last 10 years probably.  It was easier to raise issues then, and track them to be fair.  Not now. Reports disappear into a national call centre. 

Was I? You have a better memory than me.

 

I would be happy to pay more but as already mentioned only if it means better maintenance. As it is, i fear any increase would be spent on everything but. We need real change not blue signs. The system is getting worse year by year. C&RT need a change at the top. Mr Parry talks the talk and there it ends.

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52 minutes ago, LadyG said:

By gadget I mean that a  payment scheme which takes in to consideration the ability to pay cannot be dependent on  people providing disposable income information. The only scheme which works like that is the government benefit scheme.

I suppose people who can't afford to live in an expensive marina could find a cheaper one, but it's not a great plan if the cheap mooring has no transport links or other services.

 

Which is exactly why I suggested scaling license fee by boat value not ability to pay -- same principle as houses, those in big expensive ones pay more than those in small cheap ones.

 

And yes if you live in a big expensive house (or boat) with little income, you have a problem -- but no system is perfect... 😉

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18 minutes ago, Midnight said:

Was I? You have a better memory than me.

 

I would be happy to pay more but as already mentioned only if it means better maintenance. As it is, i fear any increase would be spent on everything but. We need real change not blue signs. The system is getting worse year by year. C&RT need a change at the top. Mr Parry talks the talk and there it ends.

 

The real problem is that the system is short of money, not just to keep up with maintenance each year but to fix the huge backlog that's built up over the years, which was last estimated as £100M IIRC.

 

The reason for the blue signs (and nice towpaths, and...) is to attract non-boaters, because if CART don't do that the nasty government will take their money away, so boaters would have to pay even more just to get the same crappy maintenance we're getting now. Which is what Parry has said, and you not liking what he said doesn't make it any less true, you can't wish facts away because you don't like them.

 

You keep seeing the blue signs as part of the problem, when actually they're part of the solution... 😉

Edited by IanD
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Any system of differential charging for different users has to be economic to administer and enforce and rely on information available to CRT. So anything based on a borrower's income is ruled out, as CRT don't have access to that information, and if they did, some would be able to 'game' the system to minimise the cost to them, as happens with the tax system.

Anything based on boat values is going to require a huge effort to value every boat on the system, and then to value each new boat built or brought to the system from elsewhere. And will presumably also need to be capable of amending that valuation where a boat is significantly improved (or deteriorates). And presumably also will have to be based on value at a particular date, even though boat values generally change over time. 

When Council Tax was introduced there were stories of valuers driving down streets of similar houses and assigning the same Council Tax band to the lot. But boats are much more variable, so individual valuations would be necessary. And that will cost. And a few years down the line, the value base will be unrelated to the actual prices boats are changing hands at, so valuers will have to try to concoct a notional value at 2022 prices. And the further you get into the future the more of a random process that will seem to be (as with Council Tax bands which are now well out of date). What about depreciation? Boats generally fall in value as they age - not at the moment perhaps, but over the longer term that is inevitable, unlike houses which tend to at least keep their value in real terms. So do you reduce a boat's licence band as it ages? All of this seems far too complex to administer in an affordable and fair way. I could see such a process quickly getting bogged down in challenges and appeals.

So basically that brings you down to charging on the basis of length, width and maybe draught, airdraft and engine power. 

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11 minutes ago, IanD said:

The real problem is that the system is short of money, not just to keep up with maintenance each year but to fix the huge backlog that's built up over the years, which was last estimated as £100M IIRC.

I seem to remember it was about  £100M when cart took over, it will be way more now.

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40 minutes ago, David Mack said:

Any system of differential charging for different users has to be economic to administer and enforce and rely on information available to CRT. So anything based on a borrower's income is ruled out, as CRT don't have access to that information, and if they did, some would be able to 'game' the system to minimise the cost to them, as happens with the tax system.

Anything based on boat values is going to require a huge effort to value every boat on the system, and then to value each new boat built or brought to the system from elsewhere. And will presumably also need to be capable of amending that valuation where a boat is significantly improved (or deteriorates). And presumably also will have to be based on value at a particular date, even though boat values generally change over time. 

When Council Tax was introduced there were stories of valuers driving down streets of similar houses and assigning the same Council Tax band to the lot. But boats are much more variable, so individual valuations would be necessary. And that will cost. And a few years down the line, the value base will be unrelated to the actual prices boats are changing hands at, so valuers will have to try to concoct a notional value at 2022 prices. And the further you get into the future the more of a random process that will seem to be (as with Council Tax bands which are now well out of date). What about depreciation? Boats generally fall in value as they age - not at the moment perhaps, but over the longer term that is inevitable, unlike houses which tend to at least keep their value in real terms. So do you reduce a boat's licence band as it ages? All of this seems far too complex to administer in an affordable and fair way. I could see such a process quickly getting bogged down in challenges and appeals.

So basically that brings you down to charging on the basis of length, width and maybe draught, airdraft and engine power. 

 

It's funny that estate agents somehow manage to successfully value millions of houses -- all different, just like boats -- every year, but somehow it's impossible to do the same with 35000 boats... 😉

 

Methinks you're making a mountain out of a molehill...

42 minutes ago, Loddon said:

I seem to remember it was about  £100M when cart took over, it will be way more now.

Yes it will -- which is why I said "it was last estimated" 😉

 

Anyway, the point is that the amount of money needed to get the canals back into good working order and then keep them there is huge, and it has to come from somewhere, and one place -- not the only one! -- is an increased average license fee.

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46 minutes ago, Loddon said:

I seem to remember it was about  £100M when cart took over, it will be way more now.

 

A KMPG report into the viability of C&RTs business plan (prior to the actual hand over from BW) suggested that BW had underspent on keeping maintenance in the "steady-state" by some £15m to £20m per annum for many years, They suggested that the steady state required about £100m per annum spending and that was without any costs of repairing the backlog.

 

 

 

 

 

Screenshot (1190).png

Edited by Alan de Enfield
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1 hour ago, IanD said:

 

The real problem is that the system is short of money, not just to keep up with maintenance each year but to fix the huge backlog that's built up over the years, which was last estimated as £100M IIRC.

 

The reason for the blue signs (and nice towpaths, and...) is to attract non-boaters, because if CART don't do that the nasty government will take their money away, so boaters would have to pay even more just to get the same crappy maintenance we're getting now. Which is what Parry has said, and you not liking what he said doesn't make it any less true, you can't wish facts away because you don't like them.

 

You keep seeing the blue signs as part of the problem, when actually they're part of the solution... 😉

I think the sad thing is £100m to our government is loose change.

HS2 - £100 billion for example and will it benefit the average tax payer? 

The UK government spent £1,096 billion in 20-21 - £1,096,000,000,000.

We gave the blummin Queen £67M in 2017-18!

I'm sick of hearing how we can't afford things for the common man.

 

Edited by Slow and Steady
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59 minutes ago, IanD said:

 

It's funny that estate agents somehow manage to successfully value millions of houses -- all different, just like boats -- every year, but somehow it's impossible to do the same with 35000 boats... 😉

Most of the time estate agents don't value properties. What they do is suggest to a vendor an asking price, which may (or may not) then be the asking price. Prospective purchasers then offer - at the asking price, or sometimes higher if they think that will secure them the purchase, or they may try a lower offer first. And there is then some haggling between vendor and purchaser, with the estate agent merely being the middle man, until both parties get a figure they can agree on. That is quite different from a boat valuer expressing his opinion of a boat's value and then expecting the boat owner to be bound by that opinion.

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48 minutes ago, Slow and Steady said:

I think the sad thing is £100m to our government is loose change.

HS2 - £100 billion for example and will it benefit the average tax payer? 

The UK government spent £1,096 billion in 20-21 - £1,096,000,000,000.

We gave the blummin Queen £67M in 2017-18!

I'm sick of hearing how we can't afford things for the common man.

 

 

I still don't see why the common man should not pay for his own boating, rather than expect the taxpayer to pay the majority of the costs.

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1 hour ago, MtB said:

 

I still don't see why the common man should not pay for his own boating, rather than expect the taxpayer to pay the majority of the costs.

 

I wonder - if you put the licence up from £1,000 to £5,000 which would exclude a lot of people, do you think there would be some miraculous flood of new boaters willing to pay £100/week to keep a boat in CRT waters? It's not as if there's some boat shortage or rationing stopping them now is it? I suspect it would cause even less boating resulting in even less desire to maintain the canals.

 

Edited by Slow and Steady
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5 hours ago, David Mack said:

When Council Tax was introduced there were stories of valuers driving down streets of similar houses and assigning the same Council Tax band to the lot. But boats are much more variable, so individual valuations would be necessary. And that will cost. And a few years down the line, the value base will be unrelated to the actual prices boats are changing hands at, so valuers will have to try to concoct a notional value at 2022 prices.

This is one of the greatest problems with Council Tax. There needs to be a way to update both valuation and rate of taxation as property increases in notional value. Taxing based on a proportion of price at last sale works for the vast majority - but fails to address the issue of the landed gentry who don't sell their property.

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11 hours ago, MtB said:

 

I still don't see why the common man should not pay for his own boating, rather than expect the taxpayer to pay the majority of the costs.

Most boaters pay tax too! I think you need to get out more Mike and enjoy your boating.

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15 hours ago, David Mack said:

Anything based on boat values is going to require a huge effort to value every boat on the system, and then to value each new boat built or brought to the system from elsewhere. And will presumably also need to be capable of amending that valuation where a boat is significantly improved (or deteriorates).

 

Insured value would be a reasonable approach.  Most people won't deliberately over insure or under insure their boats.

 

CRT have the details of your insurer and policy number, so it's a trivial extra data field on the database.

 

Admittedly it still leaves the issue of working out the value of boats insured third party only ...

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9 minutes ago, TheBiscuits said:

Admittedly it still leaves the issue of working out the value of boats insured third party only ...

 

It could be (like Council Tax)

Band A = value £0 to £20k

Band B = value £20,001 to £50k

Band C = value £50,001 to £90k

Band D = value £90,001 to £140k

Band E = value £140,001 to £200k

Band F = value £200,001 upwards

 

Any boat that only has 3rd party would (assumptions have to be made) be of a low value and would fall in Band A.

 

One problem with this proposed system is the deviousness of some boaters  - they could insure their £100k / £200k boat 3rd party, get the licence issued and change to Fully comp the next day.

 

No ......... that wouldn't happen.

Wouldn't it ?

 

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5 minutes ago, Alan de Enfield said:

 

It could be (like Council Tax)

Band A = value £0 to £20k

Band B = value £20,001 to £50k

Band C = value £50,001 to £90k

Band D = value £90,001 to £140k

Band E = value £140,001 to £200k

Band F = value £200,001 upwards

 

 

 

Based on what the boat was worth in 1992 perhaps?

 

Ooh, I know - let's borrow an earlier idea: what about introducing...

 

 

"(Barge) Pole Tax"?

(What could possibly go wrong?) :icecream:

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Just now, TheBiscuits said:

 

x10 for bow thrusters? :icecream:

 

 

Excellent idea.

 

License fee for boat with no bow thruster: £1,000

License fee for boat with bow thruster: £10,000

 

Sorted.

 

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