Road tax rises

June 2, 2009

195 words
16 July 2008
The Times
Times2 2
English
(c) 2008 Times Newspapers Limited. All rights reserved

Newspapers might get to stories quicker if they took more notice of numbers. “Car tax change:9 million worse off”, screamed the Daily Mail front page last week. The Telegraph and Express – not to mention the Conservatives – were equally excited. They claimed that the Government had reneged on a promise that more drivers would benefit from road tax changes than would be penalised.

What took them so long? Four months ago, buried in the Budget, road tax revenue was projected to rise 7.5 per cent in 2009 and 4 per cent in 2010. That does not imply broken promises – most drivers can pay less and revenue can still rise. But it looks fishy enough for questions to be asked. In a sense, the story is even older. This year road tax revenue rose by 9 per cent, last year 10 per cent. In that context, not only is the 2009 rise low but, perhaps, the Treasury felt that those paying the same – a third of drivers – counted as being better off.

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