Yesterday the Opposition highlighted the great Vehicle Excise Duty take away. Brought to you by the same people who doubled the income tax rate on the lower paid, they have thought up another unpopular wheeze to lift an extra Â£2.5 billion from motorists as if we were not paying enough already.
Deep in the small print of the budget was the fact that the large increases in VED would apply, not just to new cars, to put people off buying the larger and sportier vehicles, but also to older cars where there is no such element of choice. Even Labour MPs now see how unpopular this could prove to be when it comes into effect next year.
If you own a car which emits 161-165 grams of carbon per km (where are the miles the government said they had protected for us?) your VED will go up from Â£145 to Â£175, an increase of more than 20%.
If you own a car with emissions of 201-225 grams, you will have to pay 43% more, a rise from Â£210 to Â£300.
If your car puts out more than 255 grams, the rise will be 10%, from Â£400 to Â£440.
The government have dared to â€œsellâ€ this idea as a green tax, which will limit carbon output from vehicles by persuading us to buy greener cars. Yet the governmentâ€™s own figures say that, as a result, UK vehicle emissions of carbon will fall by just one seventh of one percent, a figure so small that it could be lost in the estimating error. Their forecast for a stonking 130% increase in tax revenue from this source shows they know it will not change behaviour, just swell the Treasury coffers.
This is no green policy. This is another milk-the-motorist policy, from the people who have brought us rip off petrol prices (with an added 70p a litre of tax!), rapacious parking charges and congestion charges. There is also their enormous speeding fine revenue from a system so complicated and perverse that you need to be a bad driver to be able to comply with it, watching your speedo so often whilst scanning the horizon for the speed signs rather than the road ahead.
The average motorist already pays Â£1,800 a year for his or her motoring, and does not have an extra Â£90 available to pay to the government just to keep the car on the road. Government Ministers, firmly insulated from these costs in their Ministerial cars, just think they can clobber the motorist again. Yesterdayâ€™s performance from Treasury Ministers goes to show they have still not understood just how people are being squeezed, and how fed up they are with a government which takes all their money.