Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Canal & Rivers DISTRUST

Canal and Rivers Trust (C&RT)  have recently been 'consulting' with interested parties on a review of how boats are licenced for using the waterways under its control.
National Association of Boat Owners (NABO) which is the most broadly representative of all the boating pressure groups has been involved in this and has become disillusioned by C&RT's approach.  The 'consultation' seems to be a sham. C&RT appear to have decided how licensing is going to change and are going through the motions and massaging the results to support this decision.
NABO issued the following message to all members and I urge ALL boaters, whether members of NABO or not, to make their views know to C&RT as soon as possible.

Your Council met recently and felt that we should urgently communicate our 
views and recommendations with regard to CRT's latest consultation.
Canal and River Trust have spent considerable time and expense getting to 
this stage yet in our view have now effectively ignored the majority view.
CRT have in this consultation posed questions intimating that these have 
the support of the two earlier stages and of the Navigation Advisory Group
(NAG L&M) where boaters views were requested. This is not the case.

At the specially convened meeting of NAG and the boaters representatives 
Mark Tizard and Alison Tuck from NABO attended) we were advised that after
getting the views of the boating organisations (stage 1) and the boaters 
workshops (stage 2) the only common themes emerging were the approval  to
change the way licensing was charged from length to area and to review 
discounts generally (keeping the prompt payment discount). We understood
that this basically was likely to form the core of the questions to be asked.
There was a majority view that there should just be one license charge
regardless of whether a boater had a home mooring or not) and it was agreed
that licensing cost should not be used to address congestion but that this
was the function of enforcement. 
Despite being rejected at stage 1&2 this was brought up again at the special 
NAG meeting and again rejected unanimously.

Despite this we note with dismay that CRT have chosen to be divisive and have 
included questions that suggest that the boaters should pay a different fee 
dependent upon whether they have a home mooring or not, see questions 24,25 
and 26. NABO's view is that there should be one license fee for use of the
waterways under CRT's control and would urge members to vote accordingly. 
In addition we note that CRT in question 24  is suggesting a new license with 
increased fee  (in our view potentially  illegal unless there is a new act of 
Parliament) for boats that wish to remain in one area. This is in our view a 
function of creating a sustainable mix of towpath, short and long term 
moorings supported by enforcement.

Members can read a pdf of the consultation here. 

We would URGE all members to respond to the consultation, 
if you have not received a copy contact customer services who will email 
or post one out to you.

NABO is planning to launch a wider campaign shortly whose aims are to ensure
that CRT and EA put boating and boaters at the forefront of their
thinking and actions when promoting the waterways. 
This will have the tag of ' As a boater are you feeling marginalised ?' 

NABO Council 
With highlighting and italicizing by Peter Lloyd 

Monday, 16 October 2017

Never Had It So Good ?

On BBC Radio Four's consumer programme this morning You  & Yours Winifred Robinson was discussing the report from the debt help group, Step Change.  This reported a rise in the number of  people with debt problems and highlighted the following from callers to their help line:
  • Six out of ten callers were under 40
  • Four out of ten were single with no children
  • Eight out of ten were renting their home
Their representative made the following statement in support of  the third point here:
"more people are renting than ever before"  
The population of UK is greater than ever before and so his statement might be true. However to make the claim meaningful it should be based on the proportion of households renting, not the  number of people in the population.
And on that basis it is not true according to the Office of National Statistics.
The chart below clearly shows that the proportion of rented households in UK was greater  than it is today prior to 1981 - one generation ago.


The second contributor on this topic was Katie Morley, the Consumer Editor of the Daily Telegraph.
I hazard a guess that Ms Morley is in the age group under discussion because of her unbelievable stance.  For a person in her position on a national newspaper to say that the young are in debt through no fault of their own is naive if not immature.
"Look who created the system - the old people. They are to blame"
Does she believe this drivel?
Part of this system, according to Ms Morley,  is the growth in channels to buy goods on deferred payment. This is not new. When I was her age every other household had a catalogue which allowed them to purchase on tick. Is this ancient (irrelevant) history to the the under 40s?
There has always been credit available but what has changed is society's attitude to it. We were always told . Never a borrower or lender be.
An incentive to heading this advise  was the rate of interest and inflation.   The interest rate on our first mortgage reached 25% at one time which is a far cry from today's rates.
There seems to be growing support  for the view that the baby boomers have "never had it so good", to borrow from Harold Macmillan.
This may be the case but I doubt that many of the current  under 40's  have ever had to cope with the financial problems that the baby boomers did at their age. If I had voiced Ms Morley's statement at her age it would have elicited the response
 Stop blaming others and  cut your coat according to your cloth.