Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Heartening as Car Firms Help

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Heartening as Car Firms Help

Article excerpt

Byline: By Steve Hughes

Within hours of the Asian tsunami disaster, I received a promotion from an Australian company that specialises in the hire of cars, 4WDs and boats.

It announced that it would donate 1% of its January takings to the disaster fund for all bookings made for 2005.

However, it also said that this would only apply to those who paid in full before the end of January, which made me wonder.

If the company receives pounds 100 in January for a booking in June and donates pounds 1 to the fund now, it gets an average of about pounds 37,777 in interest on the remaining pounds 99 during the next six months.

Multiply that by millions of pounds of business during January and it is not a bad little earner.

Of course, history tells us that some of the world's richest people have accumulated their wealth through wars and disasters and that will always be the case.

However, rather than ordinary folk having to donate billions to pay for the essentials needed in this case, would it not be preferable for those companies around the world to simply donate the stuff as an act of mercy?

The idea that companies are cashing in with massive increases in sales of water, medicines and food seems inappropriate and I'm heartened that so many car companies are donating vehicles and expertise for free. Indeed, while car companies are blamed for so many of the world's ills, it is invariably not them but their hangers-on who are at fault.

Top of the list are the new generation of so-called lawyers who persuade us all to sue each other for compensation if we come within a yard of another vehicle.

Next up is the Government that fleeces motorists almost to the point of extinction, closely followed by the police, who do likewise.

A couple of cases in point. The average driver in the UK now spends more than pounds 1,000 a year on fuel, of which more than pounds 800 goes in tax. Amazingly, pounds 1,000 actually buys less than pounds 200 worth of petrol or diesel. …

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