Garth Harkness

Liberal Democrat Councillor for Saddleworth North Ward on Oldham Council Learn more

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Liberal Democrat Tax Relief for Public Transport

by Garth Harkness on 16 June, 2020

Since October 2013, then journalist and now Prime Minister Boris Johnson called for employees to be ‘allowed to pay for their season tickets from their pre-tax income.’

Cllr Garth Harkness proposing the tax relief motion

Oldham Liberal Democrat Councillors Garth Harkness and Louie Hamblett are now calling the Prime Minister’s bluff.  This is with a new motion to the first Oldham Council meeting since the start of the Coronavirus Pandemic.  The idea behind the policy is to make a saving for passengers whilst actively encouraging people to reinvest in public transport.

The scheme would be on seasonal travel tickets throughout the public transport network in Greater Manchester.  Passengers would save hundreds of pounds a year.

Cllr Louie Hamblett Seconding the motion

Councillor Harkness comments:  “It will be interesting to see if the Prime Minister makes good on this.  After all, it is his idea!  Tax relief for public transport is a great way for workers and businesses to cooperate.”

 “Public health comes first.  However, whilst we all must be cautious when using public transport, we should still invest ourselves in its worth.  If not now, then when things return to normal.”  Said Councillor Hamblett.

The Council meeting will be held on 17th June and starts at 6pm.

ENDS/

Copy of Motion:

Council June 17, 2020 – Notice of Opposition Business

Motion 1 – Tax relief for Public Transport

This Council notes that:

  • The impact of such a scheme would mean that employees would have less taxable income reducing their liability for income tax and national insurance and the employer would also save on national insurance contributions.
  • The economy has been hit by the Coronavirus Pandemic.  This would be an easing measure for people returning to public transport.
  • An annual season ticket costs a Metrolink tram commuter from Shaw to Manchester £1,154, a Train commuter from Greenfield to Manchester is £1,208, and a Bus commuter with First Manchester is £670.
  • Such a tax-relief scheme would represent a significant financial saving for Oldham Borough’s commuters and be a real kickstart to the local economy.
  • Council further notes that now Mr Johnson is Prime Minister he has it within his power to put his aspirations for tax relief on seasonal travel tickets into practice.

Council resolves to:

  • Council resolves to ask the Chief Executive to write to the Prime Minister and Chancellor of The Exchequer to request that this Government introduce such a tax-relief scheme.
  • This would be on seasonal travel tickets (following the principles outlined in Mr Johnson’s Telegraph article in 2013) making this effective as soon as possible.
  • Write to the Mayor of Greater Manchester saying that we all should support such a scheme.

Proposed by: Councillor Garth Harkness            

Seconded by: Councillor Louie Hamblett                                                                       

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