This is a call to arms: next Tuesday 31st March at 5pm in Trafalgar Square, and then 6.45pm outside Westminster City Hall on Victoria Street, the TPA will be joining a mass protest against one of the most poorly thought out, unfair and misguided stealth taxes in British local government. Full details can be found here.
Westminster City Council's decision to tax motorbikes and scooters for parking in the Borough when it was previously free is harming the local economy, punishing commuters and residents unfairly and contravening the Mayor of London's stated intention to get more people on two wheels instead of four in order to help reduce congestion.
It's unbelievable that any council, with the economy in the grip of a severe recession, could think it is justified or desirable to suck millions of pounds out of the local economy with a stealth tax. By comparison, Kensington and Chelsea have introduced free parking to try to boost local trade. Westminster seem happy to be raking in revenue at the expense of local jobs.
As taxpayers, we should all rally round to oppose this greedy stealth tax. As we can see from the boom in stealth taxes on all sorts of different activities in recent years, if councils think they can get away with picking on particular groups, they will do so. Some of Westminster's councillors seem to think they can not only disregard economic reality and public opinion, they can actualy respond to petitioning from the public with abuse. Well no longer.
At the protest on Tuesday there will be over 1,000 bikers, local residents and taxpayer activists showing WCC that it is totally unacceptable to slap stealth taxes on anyone. We will start off with speeches in Trafalgar Square, the protest will move down to Victoria Street. Once we arrive, a group of us will go inside to give evidence to the council's Scrutiny Committe about why the new tax should be ditched. I'll be giving evidence on behalf of the TaxPayers' Alliance, and there will be evidence given by representatives of road users and local residents, all united to ditch the bike tax.
As well as the speeches in Trafalgar Square, when we reach Victoria Street the meeting will be piped outside to the massed protesters. Do come along to show your opposition to stealth taxing councils - this effects all of us, and if Westminster get away with it, then other councils will certainly follow suit.
No-one can afford higher taxes in the current economic climate, and the TPA is proud to be working with the campaign against the Westminster Bike Tax. The No To The Bike Parking Tax campaign are an energetic, self-starting group of grasroots protesters standing up against something they believe to be wrong. It's refreshing to see more and more taxpayers getting active and fighting back - I'm delighted to report that this excellent group are officially becoming part of the TaxPayers' Alliance.
Here's their latest campaign video, to get you really fired up: