New road tax proposal likely to have huge ramifications for car industry

Signature is a driving instructing company based in the north east.

CHANCELLOR Rishi Sunak raised the idea of a potential new car tax based on mileage, causing outrage with drivers across the UK.

With the growing use of electric cars, the government is currently earning less from road tax despite large tax hikes in April 2018.

The Treasury, according to The Times, is exploring ways in which Rishi Sunak can replace lost fuel duty and vehicle excise duty (VED) – known more widely as car tax – as the shift to electric vehicles gathers pace.

Ideas for such a move include a road toll system or “pay-as-you-drive” – a concept last explored by Tony Blair’s government in 2007 but abandoned due to opposition from motorists.

SR News spoke with Signature School of Motoring, a local driving school based in the north east to find out their reaction to the news.

A spokesperson said: “As driving instructors we can do over 45k miles per year. Depending on the price per mile it could force us to massively increase our lesson price.

“Most people may still want to drive as it is a vital part of people’s livelihoods. But learners from a low income background will not be able to afford lessons never mind running a car.

“There are also instructors that work in cities which will see a drop in demand as public transport becomes a better option for driving. 

“You have instructors that teach in rural areas that have longer distances than others to travel from job to job so they will have to rocket their prices up and again that makes it harder to afford lessons for people in rural areas that are cut off.”

There is a feeling that this new potential tax is scapegoating drivers, and some of our followers shared those concerns.

Dave Barker, a 39-year-old, from Northumberland, drives a BMW 3-series and he believes that the new proposals are ‘ridiculous’. 

He said: “I just feel charging per mile is ridiculous, a lot of people drive long distances to work, how can you justify car ownership if your journey is on high priced roads only? 

“I don’t think we are scapegoats as drivers, the money driver’s create is massive to the economy. 

“I just feel any effort to effect climate change is pointless when you look at how badly other nations pollute it’s like trying to paint the Eiffel tower with a needle.”

Both the SSM and Mr Barker believe that there are better ways of taxing vehicles that would be fairer.

“We don’t feel that driving is stigmatised as such just because it’s bad for the environment,” said the statement from SSM.

“But we feel that there is a better solution – a car does not pollute much just driving to the local supermarket. However it does if someone is going to Manchester on a motorway doing 70mph so a better idea would be to have a road toll system on the motorway and dual carriageway.”

Mr Barker believes in a different mechanism for taxing road users.

He said: “I feel a fair system would be to collect more at the pump. Then those who use cars more pay more. 

“I feel the infrastructure needed to impose a per road use charge is a huge task, and a cost we can’t afford. Until the infrastructure is in place for Electric Vehicle usage, is there much point in driving the need to switch to them?”

What do you make of the new proposed car tax? Let us know on Twitter.

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