Feeds

EU slaps 'Davros tax' on mobility scooters

Import duty contains battery-powered pensioner menace

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Build a business case: developing custom apps

RoTM The EU has moved to restrict the number of mobility scooters available to a machine uprising on the UK streets by slapping import duty on the vehicles, the Telegraph reports.

Our artist's impression of a Terminator granny astride a mobility scooterThe ruling means a £250 price hike on the average £2.5k cost of the mostly Taiwanese and Chinese vehicles, which are "exempt from VAT for disabled purchasers and until recently, were also free of customs duty". Whereas the mobility scooter was previously classified as "a carriage for disabled persons" , they were now banded with "motor vehicles for the transport of persons", attracting a 10 per cent customs mark-up.

Ray Hodgkinson, director general of the British Healthcare Trades Association (BHTA), has "warned that the decision to treat the vehicles as 'go-karts' could bankrupt some companies". He added that HM Revenue and Customs' move "was apparently inspired by fears that they were also being used as golf buggies even though they were unsuitable for that use".

Hodgkinson also claimed that HMRC was pursuing importers for three years' back duty, and called for Gordon Brown to "take up the cudgels with the EU" over the outrage.

HMRC declared the reclassification "the responsibility of the European Community, based on the World Customs Organisation’s coding system". It said in a statement: "HMRC are advising the UK industry on how best to pursue a change to the customs classification."

While the announcement is indeed bad news for genuine mobility scooter users, including 91-year-old John Cooper who sports a hip replacement and was recently upgraded with a pacemaker, and who dubbed the plan "disgraceful", there is a suspicion that British intelligence services may have identified a potential threat to human hegemony over Planet Earth and have sought to contain the menace.

Indeed, neoLuddite Resistance Army (NRA) field reports suggest an alarming increase in motorised grannies charging around town centres with little regard for human life or their own safety. Were they ever to form an alliance with cranially-chip-implanted, Segway-borne Google drones, the consequences for mankind could be catastrophic. ®

The Rise of the Machines™

Carnivore ATM bites Florida kiddie (16 March 2007)
Hybrid vehicle attacks petrol station (12 March 2007)
Humans taste of bacon, says gourmet robot (10 November 2006)
Satnav orders German into toilet (24 October 2006)
Lizard Alliance targets Turkish PM (19 October 2006)
Washing machine attacks Icelander (9 October 2006)
Volkswagen unleashes 150mph self-driving car (4 July 2006)
Police arrest satanic BMW victim (20 June 2006)
Iraq grunts mourn loss of robot comrade (25 May 2006)
Bendy bus attacks Leeds cake shop (25 April 2006)
Captain Cyborg acquires Dalek capability (20 April 2006)
Man survives satanic BMW crash-and-burn (13 March 2006)
Second Freeview box signals alien invasion fleet (15 February 2006)
Lizard Army fuses woman with black helicopter (4 November 2005)
NRA probes Japanese sex android (26 August 2005)
Androids launch minicab firm (15 July 2005)
Beware the breast-examining hand of death (13 July 2005)
Lizard Army Neo-Mech menaces eBay (13 July 2005)
Vampire robonurses hunt in packs (6 June 2005)
Cornell Uni develops apocalypse cube (13 May 2005)
Sex android begats Armageddon machine (22 April 2005)
Man executes Chrysler (21 April 2005)
Rise of the man-eating cyberloo (24 March 2005)
Sobbing Frenchman recounts Renault Laguna terror ordeal (18 March 2005)
Fire-breathing bus attacks South London (14 March 2005)
Dyson unleashes self-replicating hoover (11 March 2005)
Battling teen crushes roboarm menace (8 March 2005)
French join motorised Lizard Alliance (22 February 2005)
Lizard Army develops copulating robot (11 February 2005)
We are Zogg: The Cuddly Menace (9 February 2005)
Lizard Army invades Alaska (27 January 2005)
London menaced by flaming DVD players (12 January 2005)
Killer hoover attacks Scotsman (24 December 2004)
Car self-destructs in assassination bid (17 December 2004)
The rise of the rat-brain controlled android (16 December 2004)
Boffins unleash robotic cockroach (15 November 2004)
Ukrainian teen fights the Rise of the Machines™ (13 October 2004)
Man in satanic Renault terror ordeal (7 October 2004)
Killer cyberappliances: Satan implicated (28 June 2004)
US develops motorised robobollard (29 April 2004)
Killer cyberloo kidnaps kiddie (22 April 2004)
Fire-breathing buses threaten London (24 March 2004)
Cyberappliances attack Italian village (11 February 2004)
Cyberloo blast rocks Stoke-on-Trent (10 February 2004)
Cyberkiosk assaults Spanish teenager (8 December 2003)
Hi-tech toilet caught on camera (19 April 2001)
Hi-tech toilet swallows woman (17 April 2001)

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
Just TWO climate committee MPs contradict IPCC: The two with SCIENCE degrees
'Greenhouse effect is real, but as for the rest of it ...'
Asteroid's DINO KILLING SPREE just bad luck – boffins
Sauricide WASN'T inevitable, reckon scientists
Flamewars in SPAAACE: cooler fires hint at energy efficiency
Experiment aboard ISS shows we should all chill out for cleaner engines
Brit amateur payload set to complete full circle around PLANET EARTH
Ultralight solar radio tracker in glorious 25,000km almost-space odyssey
NASA Mars rover FINALLY equals 1973 Soviet benchmark
Yet to surpass ancient Greek one, however
Famous 'Dish' radio telescope to be emptied in budget crisis: CSIRO
Radio astronomy suffering to protect Square Kilometre Array
BEST BATTERY EVER: All lithium, all the time, plus a dash of carbon nano-stuff
We have found the Holy Grail (of batteries) - boffins
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Maximize storage efficiency across the enterprise
The HP StoreOnce backup solution offers highly flexible, centrally managed, and highly efficient data protection for any enterprise.