Government tax attack on cars works

The latest figures show a further decline in the UK output of cars for domestic sale, as the government wished. They imposed higher taxes and threatened more taxes and bans. How much bigger fall do they want?


  1. Ian wragg
    September 27, 2018

    The bigger the better. It can be blamed on Brexit.

  2. Bob Dixon
    September 27, 2018

    The Chancellor can point to the car manufacturing industry downturn so he can repeat his doom and gloom forecasts on leaving the EU.

  3. Lifelogic.
    September 27, 2018

    Indeed but the main problem is uncertainty. Why buy an expensive new car that might soon be banned from being used in many cities. Better to stay with your old one until the position becomes clears or electric car technology works better, ie becomes cheaper, have better ranges, faster charing times, batteries that devalue less and more charging points.

    A second hand car petrol car that costs say £1000 is probably a far better, flexibile & more usable car than a new Tesla at £80K plus thousands more for the charge point installations and lots of killing time while recharging for hours at various charge points!

    1. Steve
      September 27, 2018


      Spot on. However, what they’re after is to force us to have crap electric cars. An excellent way to restrict our movement, and enslave millions to even more debt for the privilege of getting to work. ( getting back home again is another matter )

      Gas Turbine – electric is the only technology that would work, and can be powered by just about any bio fuel.

      This whole electric car thing is a load of guff in my opinion, and has more to do with research funding than providing an alternative.

    2. David Price
      September 28, 2018

      You assume you will continue to have that choice?

      Since around 2003 the UK became a net energy importer again and the sources of that energy are increasingly countries our establishment does not have good relations with – OPEC, Russia …

      See – ONS article “UK energy: how much, what type and where from? ” August 2016.

      So, do you want to wait until you cannot afford or even get the fuels you need or might it be a good idea to encourage and support R&D into viable alternatives, which in a commercial world generally means an iterative process with returns at each step.

      1. Mitchel
        September 28, 2018

        Russia believes it is energy that will force whoever ends up running this country to kiss the tsar’s boot.

        From a Guardian article by Patrick Wintour(“Revealed:UK’s push to strengthen anti-Russia alliance”) 22/5/18:

        “Commentators in Russian newspapers such as Pravda this week confidently claimed that UK energy needs would become the anvil on which British opposition to Russia collapses.Reliant on the evaporating reserves of the Norwegians and Dutch for liquid gas,the UK will be forced to turn to Russian gas and “beg forgiveness”,Pravda claimed”!

  4. Mark B
    September 27, 2018

    The government and opposition need to be reminded that car workers vote. And they will vote for whoever serves their purpose.

    If UK car workers are suffering so too must non-UK car workers.

  5. Iain Gill
    September 27, 2018

    we have state manipulated numbers of cars on the road, state manipulated population size, state manipulated house prices, state manipulated economic and jobless figures

    we need to return freedom to the individual and take power away from the state

    1. eeyore
      September 27, 2018

      The bigger the state the smaller the citizen. And the older his car.

  6. Stephen O
    September 27, 2018

    It would be nice to think a change of policy post-brexit would mean a release of pent up demand favouring domestic producers (certainly in the case of UK trading on WTO terms with a 10% tariff onEU built cars). But yes it is most likely due to misguided thinking in the Treasury, though a happy accident is possible…

  7. Roy Grainger
    September 27, 2018

    If we all switched to electric cars (as the government apparently wants) how many more power stations would we need to supply the electricity ? Why aren’t we building them now ?

    1. Dominic Johnson
      September 27, 2018

      If we were really moving to electric planning permission would insist every house had a two car garage….

      1. Lifelogic.
        September 28, 2018

        In fact with new houses on new estates you are lucky to get a space sufficient for a mini let alone a real garden. The access road with often be far too narrow to park on too. So if guests come tough.

    2. Edward2
      September 27, 2018

      As well as insufficient power from power station housing estates would need to have their cables upgraded if most houses had electric cars on charge.

    3. Steve
      September 27, 2018

      Roy Granger

      “Why aren’t we building them now ?”

      Because successive governments over the decades have run this country down to the point where it can hardly make anything. Shameful really.

      Never mind though, those who did the damage to this country will never be held to account.

      If it was up to me I’d have the lot of ’em rounded up and severely dealt with.

    4. Stred
      September 28, 2018

      One estimate was 5 extra Hinckley double reactors and another 5 for heating, on top of the ones we have already, most of which are going to be replaced anyway. We could cover the entire North and Irish Seas and hills with bird choppers too and run the nukes two thirds when there is wind and one third to make hydrogen or biofuels. Hinckleys are expensive nut we don’t seem to be able to decide on the types which work and are less expensive. Anyway, electricity costs will double.

  8. ChrisS
    September 27, 2018

    How much tax has Hammond foregone with his ludicrous attacks on the car industry and the Buy To Let property sector ? In the case of cars alone, it must run into hundreds of millions in VAT and VED before you even consider the jobs that have been lost.

    What is he actually trying to achieve, other than to make Brexit look as if it’s damaging the economy ? He should be replaced immediately

    PS I see Project Fear is in full flood this morning with a prediction that NI could suffer power cuts and the price of electricity could rise by up to a third.

    Why should this happen ?

    Ireland has a single electricity market based on a bi-lateral legal agreement that has nothing to do with the EU. If the Irish Government unilaterally and deliberately decided to break that legal agreement they would be very foolish because the UK has plenty of retaliatory action it could take which would inflict serious damage the economy of the South.

    Even Varadker is not that stupid – is he ?

    1. Steve
      September 27, 2018


      “Ireland has a single electricity market based on a bi-lateral legal agreement that has nothing to do with the EU. If the Irish Government unilaterally and deliberately decided to break that legal agreement they would be very foolish because the UK has plenty of retaliatory action it could take which would inflict serious damage the economy of the South.”

      Well there is the matter of a loan given to Ireland recently, we could always call it in if they want to get crappy with us. It’d be a good way to shut Varadkar up.

      Even Varadker is not that stupid – is he ?


      1. ChrisS
        September 28, 2018

        “Even Varadker is not that stupid – is he ?


        Steve, I fear you are right !!!

    2. Stephen Priest
      September 27, 2018

      Apparently because of Brexit the IRA will spontaneous reactivate and start murdering innocent people again. Or as the BBC might say “resume their armed struggle”.

    3. Stred
      September 28, 2018

      The total capacity of S. Ireland when the wind is not blowing is insufficient and they depend on gas stations in NI and interconnect to Wales. Cutting the present arrangement would be very foolish, even for Darth.

    4. Lifelogic.
      September 28, 2018

      Plus he is killing the supply of rented property and pushing up rents even further. The man has zero understanding of economics.

  9. oldtimer
    September 27, 2018

    You ask “How much bigger fall do they want?” The answer is big enough to blame on Brexit. It will be the Hammond/Treasury “told you so” moment.

  10. Narrow Shoulders
    September 27, 2018

    While the tax increase as a cause of the decline is sales seems intuitive is there any research available that confirms this?

    There are many issues around at present which might affect demand.

    1. miami.mode
      September 27, 2018

      NS. A chief at a major car dealer commented in the past year or so that we may have reached ‘peak’ car.

      In large cities there is less need for a car due to readily available taxis and better public transport and indeed it would appear that fewer young people are taking driving tests.

    2. Stred
      September 28, 2018

      May and Hammond’s departments are chock full of nudgers who want to go elecric. There is a kit kat plan designed by the ex Deccheads now in the businesses dept. It’s all for our own good, but they can’t tell us what they are up to.

      1. Lifelogic.
        September 28, 2018

        It is economic and engineering lunacy. Electric cars with current technology just do not work for most people’s needs other than as a second car for rich people (with parking) to virtue signal.

  11. Turboterrier.
    September 27, 2018

    As far as it can go to force the manufacturers to changeover to 100% electric production.

    Still no consideration or thoughts from Mr Gove and his like on the safe disposal of all the batteries. Nothing new there then just the same with turbine blades and solar panels.

    We seem incapable of forward planning and actually using the cause and effect process to determine that what seems like a good idea doesn’t actually come back and bit you in the butt.

    Yet another instance of politicians not having the correct qualifications and experience?

  12. Ron Olden
    September 27, 2018

    The industry body says car manufacturing fell by 11% in July compared to the same time last year, owing to a spate of model changes, seasonal adjustments and upcoming changes in emissions standards.

    Some Car Workers have been put on a temporary three day well whilst the factory changes its’ product range and uptools, but they are still being paid full wages because the company knows its only temporary. So, good for them.

    The manufacturers also explained that the figures for July 2017 had been artificially inflated owing to a spate of new models having been launched at around that time.

    The July 2018 figures are still 7% or so higher than July 2016, which, coincidentally, was also the time of the Referendum.

    An average of 3.5% rise over two years is a perfectly satisfactory growth rate for cars production. There are only so many cars people can buy, cram into their drives or park in the street outside their house, and it’s not normal to replace one’s car every year with a new one.

    Artificially pumping up car sales now will simple suck in more imports and cause a drop in demand later.

    The UK economy is already operating at capacity but still grew by 0,6% (an annualised rate of about 2.5%) in the second quarter, but we still has a Budget Deficit and there’s already this extra £20 Billion a year of NHS spending still to come.

    No doubt there’ll be money dished out for other things, as the next election approaches, and when the NHS has wasted this latest windfall, they’ll be back demanding more (and getting it)

    Inflation is also still a bit higher than we would like.

    Now is not the time either in the economic or electoral cycle to be loosening fiscal and monetary policy. It needs to be modestly tightened (as it has been), and keep ammunition in reserve in case there are temporary problems at the time of Brexit.

    If Monetary Policy is tightened sufficiently now it might even be possible to pay the £39 Billion EU Divorce Settlement in a single, once and for all, dose of Quantitative Easing. Leaving us with a sharp drop in the annual deficit and set fair for 2022.

  13. Richard1
    September 27, 2018

    The spectator leader this week is quite, it’s essential to get rid of Mrs May, not only is she making a mess of Brexit, she has no vision and shows no intellectual leadership as we need to deliver the Country from the appalling prospect of Corbyn. Corbyn-lite, which is what the Tory 2017 manifesto was, won’t cut it. Let make sure it happens in the Spring.

  14. DUNCAN
    September 27, 2018

    I am intrigued by the reasoning behind this policy.

    Is it driven by environmental concerns?

    Is it political?

    Is it fiscal?

    Is it an attempt to create a deflationary effect on specific geographical regions that are Brexit strong and less local employment may invoke anti-Brexit sentiment?

    I can’t even look at Hammond and May when they’re on my TV screen. Images of them make my stomach churn even more so than those grotesques from the Marxist wing of the Labour party

  15. Anonymous
    September 27, 2018

    They’ll blame it on Brexit uncertainty.

  16. Newmania
    September 27, 2018

    You think that because Diesel is getting kicked people have stopped buying cars ?
    Good luck with that

    Reply Look at the sales figures for diesels since the March 2017 budget

    1. Anonymous
      September 28, 2018

      So why aren’t people saying “You know what ? Brexit is coming. Best buy that car before the prices go up.” ?

    2. libertarian
      September 28, 2018


      As most of the German car makers have an over supply of diesel cars and an under supply of petrol and as JLR switched their output to diesel then the answer is obviously yes.

      If you ever bought a new car you would know that

      Meanwhile A court in Wiesbaden ruled last week that local authorities in Frankfurt must ban older diesel cars as part of efforts to clean up air quality. Much like earlier bans in cities like Stuttgart.

  17. Scott Williams
    September 27, 2018

    How will history view this period? Much of the population being led astray by clever marketing, encouraging ever larger and faster cars. The next biggest purchase after a house and it remains unused 96%of the time. Stacking up large personal debt generated by printing money to fuel GDP growth for other countries. The politics of CO2 overriding the science of Diesel combustion; which was clear to see 20 years ago. The unfolding health time bomb resulting from polluted air esp. the effect on children. The mathematics tipping point when traffic ceases to flow. . . . Is taxation just a way for politicians to delay facing the inevitable reality – kicking the can down the road. Are there alternative to taxation for UK pop. to reach 120M? Would fuel rationing address some of the problems?

  18. Alan Jutson
    September 27, 2018

    Said many times before.

    Something to do with goose and golden eggs.

    Hammond so wrong on so many counts, its a wonder he is still in position, but then the person who keeps him there does not seem to have much of a clue either.

    Labour and the Lib Dumbs, even worse.

    We are doomed, we are all doomed. !

  19. Anonymous
    September 27, 2018

    Just how is your party going to keep Jeremy Corbyn out of office ?

    I’m astonished that I’m even having to ask the question. May has royally stuffed it up.

    No. An anti Corbyn propaganda campaign will not work – just as the anti Brexit campaign has not worked.

    1. Steve
      September 27, 2018


      “Just how is your party going to keep Jeremy Corbyn out of office ?”

      Don’t worry, he’ll keep himself out of office.

      1. Anonymous
        September 28, 2018

        Don’t be complacent.

        Factor in that millions won’t be voting Tory as they used to.

  20. Mockbeggar
    September 27, 2018

    If I heard the BBC correctly this morning they added that sales in the domestic market had dropped by 39% but total sales had dropped by only 13%. Without knowing the percentage of exports to total production, I cannot do the maths, but it looks to me as though exports haven’t dropped much, if at all.
    Perhaps someone can enlighten us.

    1. Denis Cooper
      September 27, 2018

      About 80% of UK car production is exported, mostly outside the EU; but at the same time imports from the EU are worth about three times as much as exports to the EU; and about 85% of the home market is taken up by imports, leaving just 15% for home produced cars … so on the face of it if domestic sales have dropped by 39% then in theory the lost sales could be entirely imported cars, 39% off the 85%, but they could not be entirely home produced cars; but that is still not telling us everything.

    2. Jagman84
      September 27, 2018

      There was a 6% rise in exports in June 2018 but a drop of 47% in production for home sales

  21. agricola
    September 27, 2018

    Government by amateur idiots. When you all have electric cars, where are you going to get the electricity from, baring in mind that you can barely generate enough for needs at present. Being cynical I assume you are all buying shares in battery and electricity generating companies and those in the treasury already have them.

    1. Steve
      September 28, 2018


      “Government by amateur idiots.”

      Professional idiots surely.

      At least give them some credit.

  22. Pete Else
    September 27, 2018

    All taxes are theft, what right do the government have to steal from us to promote their views of the world? Did anyone of us give them this right? If not how did they obtain this right? I never agreed to it.

    1. sm
      September 27, 2018

      Are you proposing complete anarchy?

      To the best of my knowledge, all societies have leaders and develop some kind of ruling hierarchy to (at best) maintain order, dispense justice and resist attack.

      To provide these services, those who benefit from them make a contribution of some kind.

      Sadly, throughout history, all too many of those who enter and/or control the ruling hierarchy are either corrupt to begin with or become corrupted by power and wealth.
      But I have some sympathy with your anger, Pete, having been married to an (inactive) proponent of anarchy for nearly 50 years!

  23. Brigham
    September 27, 2018

    I have bought a diesel car recently. I am 84 and would not have bought a car at all if I was any younger. If the government gets any more draconian on cars, I might go “illegal”

    1. miami.mode
      September 27, 2018

      Brigham, at 84 many desperate and desolate young Remoaners would consider you illegal.

  24. George Brooks
    September 27, 2018

    This is no more than Hammond and the treasury trying to prove their inaccurate and damaging forecasts. Kill the economy and blame Brexit has to be their aim. Nothing short of criminal

  25. DUNCAN
    September 27, 2018

    The leftward march of the Tories under this puerile leader as created the perfect breeding ground for Marxist Labour and the propagation of Marxist beliefs.

    May as single-handedly diminished the perception of Labour’s extremist thoughts and ideas by affording them credibility

    Her leadership could open the door to Marxist Labour and the private-sector hating unions. They will destroy the British economy, its productivity and its entrepreneurial culture

    She must be deposed and a proper Tory leader elected or else we will all suffer the fate an oppressive hard left government

  26. Mike Wilson
    September 27, 2018

    Indeed. I have put off my plans to renew my car. I usually buy a year old and replace at 3 years. I’ll keep my 3 year old car for another 4 years now – as far as I can extend the warranty.

  27. Andy
    September 27, 2018

    The government wants a big fall.

    And you can tell this because the car industry has repeatedly warned that Tory Brexit will be extremely harmful for their businesses. Creating extra bureaucracy, damaging supply chains and costing jobs.

    But the Tories are ignoring the motor industry bosses because motor industry bosses clearly know nothing about the motor industry. As alway the angry pensioners know best.

    1. Roy Grainger
      September 27, 2018

      Company bosses don’t want Corbyn in charge either so let’s ignore the result if he gets elected eh ?

    2. Edward2
      September 27, 2018

      The Chancellor isn’t a pensioner and he is the one making these negative decisions towards the automotive industry.

    3. libertarian
      September 27, 2018


      You can keep repeating your abject nonsense and making yourself look like a total idiot, or as suggested you could actually read the statements on the various UK car manufactures websites and the SMMT

      I can guess which route you’ll take.

    4. Jagman84
      September 27, 2018

      At least you will not be an angry pensioner, ‘Andy’. If your mob get in, the state pension will be finished.

    5. L Jones
      September 27, 2018

      Ah yes – even if your name didn’t appear on the top of it, this comment is obviously an ‘Andy’. Perhaps you could try and post something without an ageist insult, just for a change. And read something other than Facebook, just for a change. And try to sound a little more informed, by doing some research, just for a change.

      In your limited and fevered imagination, all we Brexiteers are ”pensioners”. Can’t you try to conceive of any other scenario where some of us are young and actually BELIEVE in our country?

    6. Anonymous
      September 27, 2018

      Don’t feed the troll.

      1. L Jones
        September 27, 2018

        No – you’re right, Anon. Sorry. But he’s so tiresome.

    7. Original Richard
      September 29, 2018


      “The government wants a big fall”.

      I don’t understand our (remainer) government’s logic.

      If they believe Brexit will damage the UK economy and the motor industry why do they feel it is necessary to engineer a decline in UK car sales though excessive taxation and creating uncertainty over which type of vehicle to purchase ?

  28. Whorya
    September 27, 2018

    I think Hammond is trying to tax us back into the EU.
    Which will guarantee his future financial needs, and all his pro EU lackeys..

  29. Stred
    September 27, 2018

    The government does seem to be determined to damage the prospects of UK factorizes making internal combustion engines and cars using them. The factories in S.Wales and London can fortunately export to countries which are taking a more balanced view on diesel. Even tje new electric taxi has a petrol engine and 60% of PMs come from tyres and brakes. The estimated extension of lifespans is very small after banning every diesel car. The newest vehicles ate far cleaner than in the past but people have been convinced that pollution has become so bad that they can smell it. If only they could experience pollution as ot was in the 50s.

    As regards, supply chains which, politicians tell us, will be impossible if we have WTO, how do they think Airbus manages now when lots of parts are made in non-EU countries, such as US engines?

  30. Mark
    September 27, 2018

    The policy appears to be in line with the thoughts of Mark Carney, who considers that there has been too much consumer credit granted – and who is also influenced by his Green supporting wife. That Carney has failed to take steps to normalise interest rates is ignored. The consequence is a credit bubble, which is he is now trying to limit by encouraging other barriers to purchase (also applies to BTL property).

  31. JustGetOnWithBrexit
    September 27, 2018

    I hoped, by now, we would be well on the way to a suitable trade agreement with the EU, that satisfied both sides.
    Also, that new trade agreements, outside the EU, would be secured, just waiting for Brexit Day.

    May’s total incompetence, and her desire to remain in the EU…plus obstinacy/malevolence from the EU, leaves us in this lose/lose situation.

    Well done all!

    WTO it is then…

  32. libertarian
    September 27, 2018

    This “Conservative” government like the last one is fervently anti business, they have been attacking SME’s, the High St retailers, car makers and buyers , digital marketers etc.

    Yet they want to claim responsibility for the only positive thats happened on their watch, the rise in employment. Trouble they done have an effing clue how it happened, why it happened or indeed what is happening.

    I can only guess that they are trying to trash business to “prove” that we are wrong to defy them on leaving the EU.

    I will no longer be blackmailed, I do not intend to vote to keep Tories in power just to stop Corbyn. If you are going to try to trash my business then I’ll let Corbyn do it.

  33. den
    September 27, 2018

    And who is the person responsible for these failures? The head that should be on the chopping block is – Hammond but he is another ‘Teflon Tony’ and no matter what he does against us voters, he stays as Chancellor.
    Is our PM in a political death wish or does she agree with his attempts bring the UK under Brussels control again?
    I am at a loss to decipher her end game, Is there any psychiatrist who can advise me?

  34. Lindsay McDougall
    September 28, 2018

    You need to ask the more general question: why is the Chancellor suppressing one arbitrarily chosen market when he should be managing the overall money supply by steadily increasing base rate to 0.5% above inflation. Please don’t tell me that monetary policy has been devolved to the Bank of England and its monetary committee. As Enoch was fond of saying “Power devolved is power retained”. If the Chancellor told the Governor what to do, he would do it or resign.

    Carney’s version of Project Fear 2 threatened us with a 35% fall in house prices. I have four children in their thirties and only one is an owner occupier. The other three would throw their hats in the air if house prices fell by 35%. Bring it on.

  35. dennisambler
    September 28, 2018

    I have just changed my ten year old diesel for a two year old car, again diesel. I believe that at some point pragmatism wil take over from the ideologically driven move against cars.

    I notice Elon Musk is being sued by the US SEC and Tesla shares have dropped somewhat.

  36. Original Richard
    September 29, 2018

    Our (remainer) government are clearly worried that Brexit will be good for our motor industry.

    Perhaps we will be able to address the £30bn/year trading deficit we have with the EU on cars and automotive parts and reduce, if not end, the environmentally unfriendly practice of sending a part 6 tines across the channel before it is complete.

    For the government and the EU to continue with project fear is a waste of time.

    We were told in no uncertain terms during the referendum by the PM, the Chancellor, the Governor of the BoE, the corporates, the banks, the IMF, the OECD, the POTUS, the hedge funds and the wealthy elites who don’t live in the EU let alone the UK, the Archbishop of Canterbury, etc. that simply voting to leave would bring economic disaster.

    But we still voted to leave believing freedom and democracy were more important than a few pieces of silver.

    And, anyway the dire economic predictions failed to materialise, just as they failed when we didn’t join the Euro.

  37. Nigel Seymour
    September 30, 2018

    For all slightly dim remainers out there, Jag LR are making cars that not too many drivers actually want…It was referred to as supply and demand when I was at primary school!!

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