Wednesday, March 22, 2006

News Highlight: Budget Day Lameness

On Wed the 23rd the UK Chancellor, Gordon Brown, released what has widely been described as a green budget. This claim is verging on the ludicrous. For example although the differential between low emmisions cars and large 4*4's has been increased, the maximum rate of road tax is now £220 rather than £1200 as the govornments advisors had suggested. Why do they insist in tinkering at the edges, the UK are falling behind in there progress on climate change, we have actually been in reverse gear for the last few years. Its not clear to me what the govornment hope to achive with this tokenism. Its largely the wealthy who tend to drive enormous 4*4's around the city--apparently just to proove how much car they can afford! Bearing this in mind, raising the top level of road tax by 30 or 40 pounds a ear is hardly going to have an impact.(more...)The most-polluting cars on Britain's roads are to be subject to increased duty payments, the chancellor has announced today.

Confirming the heavily trailed aspect of this year's Budget announcement, Gordon Brown revealed that duty rates of £210 will be levied on the one per cent of vehicles with the highest rates of emission.

So-called 'Chelsea tractors', 4x4s and other off-road vehicles used in urban areas, have long been termed the most-polluting on the road and the chancellor's announcement would have been aimed at pleasing environmentalists.

But many campaign groups are unhappy that Mr Brown did not go further, with Stephen Joseph, director of Transport 2000, saying he has listened to environmentalists with only' half an ear'.

'Clearly this is a well intentioned step on the road to influencing car choice but for it to work we need to see a much greater tax difference between small and large cars,' he said.

From today duty rates will be zero, £40, and then £100, £125, £150, £190 up to the new top band of £210, Mr Brown said today, claiming that this will help pay for five million more fuel efficient cars to have their duty cut.

'As a result of our decisions, and at an eventual cost of £10 million a year to the exchequer, the duty paid on 50 per cent of cars will be frozen or reduced from tomorrow,' the chancellor added.

'Instead of just 300,000 motorists paying £100 a year or less, three million will now pay £100 or less.'

But rural campaign groups have criticised the chancellor for unfairly penalising farmers and rural dwellers, who they claim need to drive cars which fall into the higher tax bracket.

Countryside Alliance chief executive Simon Hart said: 'While we welcome the concept of environmental care which the government is trying to address, we are extremely concerned that this measure directly discriminates against rural Britain with no significant environmental impact.'

He added: 'An extra £45 on a tax bill will make no difference to those in urban areas who can fork out £50,000 on a leisure vehicle.'

'It will have a direct impact on farmers and rural workers who depend on their 4x4 vehicles to go about their daily business, and use them through necessity rather than choice. We are talking about people with battered four-wheel drives and real tractors rather than brand new immaculate Chelsea tractors.'

Climate Change Action

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