Influential committee hits out at road tax rises that will cost drivers up to £245 extra.

Members of a key Commons committee have told Gordon Brown that plans to hit millions of drivers with car tax increases of up to £245 should be reversed.

Three members of the environmental audit committee have criticised the plans as displaying ‘a cavalier attitude which gives environmental taxes a bad name’.

They say that the Government lacks information on what effect the increases will have on greenhouse gas emissions. They are not backed by hard facts on decreasing CO2 emissions, and will affect hard-up families severely.

According to one estimate, as many as 400,000 car owners earning less than £15,000 a year will be hit.

Much of the criticism is sparked because the increases – due to take effect later next April – apply equally to new and second-hand cars. All vehicles registered since March 2001 will be affected.

The environmental audit committee has broadly endorsed the Government’s plans, although it says that were ‘poorly explained’ so that the public view them as ‘revenue-raising measures with no environmental purpose.’

The increases are opposed by motoring groups. AA president Edmund King said: ‘it is intrinsically unfair and unusual to introduce a new system of taxation that applies to families who have already purchased their vehicles and may be unable to sell them.’

At present, cars registered after March 2001 are divided into seven tax bands, according to CO2 emissions. Those pumping out fewer than 100g/km pay nothing; those exceeding 225g/km pay £400 (if registered after March 2006).

If the plans go ahead, in April 2009 the seven bands will enlarge to 13, and the price for the dearest band will rise to £440. But fees for cars in the intermediate bands – which include top-selling models such as the Ford Mondeo – will rise sharply.

Stephen Jury


August 4, 2008

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