Deceitful Darling


altYesterday The Times led with the revelation that the government is introducing a secret tax that will add £200 to cost of many family cars:

Tens of thousands of families will have to pay up to £245 extra a year under new road tax rules after a covert government decision to include cars up to seven years old.

This move is entirely deceitful. If car buyers had known at the time of purchase that buying a car that emits over 225g of carbon dioxide per kilometre would mean such an added cost, they might have thought twice before acquiring it.

As Chancellor, Gordon Brown steered clear of such dishonesty. However, as Prime Minister he has allowed this retroactive policy to be initiated under his watch. Originally cars bought previous to March 23 2006 were exempt from the tax, but Alistair Darling in the last budget announced a new series of car tax bands that rescind the previous exemption, leaving the already over-taxed motorist with even less money in their pocket. The Automobile Association (AA) claims that this will push many people into negative equity because the value of these cars on the second-hand market will now be worth thousands of pounds less than the car owner’s outstanding loans.

Given the rising fuel, utilities and food costs such a stealth tax is plain wrong. The people it will hit are families; these are not super cars but family cars, chosen not for their power but their safety record. Take a look at the EURO NCAP safety standards for the Renault Espace, the Vauxhall Zafira and the Ford Galaxy; three cars that will now be heavily taxed.

What, you may ask is Alistair Darling’s response to hardworking families hit by another stealth tax? Upon being asked in a radio interview what those facing higher car taxes, his answer was that to suggest that they should by new cars. Maybe if you stop taxing us, Darling, we might be able to.