Government Promises - Biking on a Budget
Promises of better roads and allowing bikes to use bus lanes that have not been forth coming have soured the biking community's relationship with the labour government over the past eight years.
With the general election only months away it seems that the labour government is trying to repair some of the damages from unanswered promises to bikers with a biker friendly budget in an attempt to secure our votes.
The 2005 budget has been a welcome change for bikers with the trend to unfairly target bikers having become the norm during Labours term in government. But is this biker friendly budget just too little too late? Or are you willing to give them another chance?
During the 2005 budget there were three pieces of good news for bikers:
Freeze on Bike Tax - Gordon Brown decided to freeze bike tax in the 2005 budget. This means that you will still expect to pay £45 for a machine with an engine capacity of 401cc-600cc and £60 for bikes that have an engine capacity of more than 600cc. Although the increase would have been a small one the freeze on bike road tax is a welcome one with other escalating costs associated with running a bike like motorbike insurance. The fact that car road tax rose with the budget means that finally the government are actually paying individual attention to bikers.
Reduced European Law Threat - Mr Brown also set out plans in his speech to set out guide lines for implication of new European laws into the UK. These laws which will come into force very soon threaten to disrupt the biking community by raising the minimum age for direct access test from 21 to 26. This law would be disastrous for the biking world by reducing the amount of new blood to the hobby every year.
Reduced Tax for Company Bikes - Although not an actual certainty there is a prospect of a tax discount for company bikes. This follows the budget giving a 1% discount to environmentally friendly cars therefore raising the question of why this discount shouldn't be offered to bikes that are already more environmentally friendly than cars?
In my opinion I think we may all be setting ourselves up for a fall, from where I'm sitting our biker friendly budget gave us one certainty in the freezing of bike road tax and two promises. The problem is we all know what this government are like at fulfilling their promises and can we trust them to deliver? Or is it time to see if one of the other parties can acknowledge bikers for the full length of their term in office? And not just in the months before an election.