Support grows to scrap a £90 increase in what drivers of ordinary cars will pay.

A group of 20 MPs have joined forces to battle plans that will see road tax rise by as much as £90 on ordinary cars. Ronnie Campbell, MP for Blyth Valley, Northumberland is leading the charge.

In the March Budget, Chancellor Alistair Darling radically changed the amount drivers must pay. Those in cars pushing out low levels of CO2 from their exhausts will from next year stump up less annual road tax, or even none at all. But those that pollute more would attract higher levels.

At the time, it appeared that the changes would apply only to new cars. But then it emerged that the Govt’s intention was to apply the increase to all cars registered since March 2001. So the bill for a three-year-old Ford Focus with a 1.8-litre petrol engine would jump from £170 to £260.

Ronnie Campbell believes this is unfair because it is retrospective taxation, and will hit hard-up people worst of all. Wealthy drivers can afford to swap their vehicles for another that has lower CO2. But those with less spare cash cannot afford a change so easily.

He has enlisted the backing of 20 other MPS and together they have signed an early day motion, asking the Chancellor to halt the planned changes. Mr Campbell has also written to every other Labour MP to ask for support.

Alistair Darling has just faced a climb-down over the abolition of the 10p income tax rate and, pundits say, will not want to risk another high-profile battle so quickly. It is hoped that current pressure will persuade the Government to sideline road tax changes for second-hand cars.

Stephen Jury


May 20, 2008