Chancellor Alistair Darling is tipped to aid drivers in next week's pre-Budget statement.

In next week’s pre-Budget report, Chancellor Alistair Darling is tipped to announce tax concessions that’ll add up to an average of £1000 per family. Much of this may come in the form of tax credits for those on low incomes.

But what glimmers of hope are there for hard-pressed motorists? There two ways in which he may keep the cost of driving down. First is the planned 2p a litre increase in fuel duty. This was announced almost a year back and was due to take effect this autumn.

This has already been postponed once, because fuel prices at the pump soared to top £1.20 per litre for unleaded and £1.34 for diesel. The Government felt it would be unacceptable back then to add to motorists’ misery and so delayed it. But it was widely believed that the Chancellor would revive it when pump prices fell. However, the strong feeling now is that the increase will be shelved for the foreseeable future.

Next year was also due to see a wide ranging reform of the system for road tax charges. The present seven bands were to be expanded to 13. As before, the amount drivers will pay depends on the level of exhaust emissions their cars produce, although vehicles over eight years old would be subject to a simpler, two-band system.

The most-polluting vehicles emitting over 255g/km of carbon dioxide were next year due to pay £440 a year, rising to £950 in 2010 as a ‘one-off’ if bought new. But the Chancellor, mindful that new car sales have slowed, is under increasing pressure to delay or even scrap such rises.

Stephen Jury


November 17, 2008

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