Are you one of the 11 million people who crossed the Dartford Bridge without paying? A question asked of the Department of Transport confirmed that 11 million motorists somehow managed to avoid paying the Dart charge. A Parliamentary Question raised by Lord Lucas in the House of Lords confirmed that the amount collected was £424 million. The amount was collected between 30 November 2014 and 31 December 2018. Interestingly a chunk of the funds came from revenue from bailiff action. The breakdown on how this huge amount of money was collected was said to be “withheld because it would be prejudicial to the effective conduct of public affairs, insofar as it could reduce the effectiveness of enforcement activity and reduce compliance rates”.
So, what the heck does that mean? Why not explain who paid what and when? Is enforcement action working? It should be – everyone who goes over the bridge or under the tunnel has a vehicle which means bailiff action has a chance of achieving a positive result.
Citizens who pay need to know that the mechanisms are in place to collect from those who don’t. Millions of motorists pay their Dart Charge on time. So why not talk about the people who don’t?
One of our criticisms of enforcement systems is the lack of data in the collection process. We should be sharing the data to underline what works and what doesn’t. We should be publishing figures, not shuffling them around in databases. The amount collected from any enforcement action carried out by enforcement agents should be clear to see. It’s not a state secret – it’s a state FACT. It alleviates the tax burden on the people paying and it’s a positive reason why we need effective enforcement systems. Its all too easy to criticize those of us working in this field – and yet we do a necessary and important job for the State. Without enforcement services, the end of the revenue collection service would stagnate and the tax burden would go up!
And if you are one of the 11 million who is now red-faced on reading this blog and needs to cough up – here’s the link to the Government page on payment information – see https://www.gov.uk/pay-dartford-crossing-charge.