When I was younger, I used to get very upset at Tories banging on about LibDems taxing people off the road. As I get older and understand our proposals better, I find such Tory hyperventilation most amusing.
So, it was with great amusement that I read Iain Dale's "Lib Dem Car Tax Proposals are Environ-MENTAL" and all the outraged comments underneath from crusty old and young Tories.
Iain says that a humble family person wanting a 2 litre petrol Mondeo would be crushed with a £1500 tax. He then gets out his high-horse and declaims:
This is madness and is entirely regressive, as hardworking families, already struggling to survive, find themselves priced out of cars. In rural areas they would be even more hard hit.
Time to bring out the Eric Forth memorial brown paper bag, I think. Breathe in, breathe out, slowly.
What Iain doesn't say is that said humble family person wanting a 2 litre Mondeo could instead buy a Diesel 2 litre Mondeo Edge with an emissions level starting at 151 g/km on the open road and only pay another £25 in tax (i.e. a total of £125) under our proposals (a tad more if they are doing a lot of urban driving). Or indeed they could buy any of these cars and get no change to their tax at all - their Vehicle Excise Duty would remain at £100 as it is now:
Renault Clio 1.5Dci
Audi A2 1.4Tdi
Peugeot 206 2.0Hdi
Vauxhall Astra 1.7Dti
Citroen Xsara Hdi (110bhp)
Renault Clio 1.2 16v
Ford Focus 1.8 Tdi
Renault Laguna 1.9 Dci
VW Golf 1.9Tdi (130bhp)
Audi A2 1.4 petrol
Peugeot 406 2.0Hdi (110bhp)
BMW 320 diesel
What is the point of a tax system if it doesn't encourage people to make less polluting choices?
My amusement is increased by the fact that Steve Norris is proposing more or less the same sort of green car/fuel taxes as us - see this Telegraph article entitled: "Tories plan 'painful rises' in car and air tax" I am sure that Iain Dale will criticise such proposals if they come forward. However, the corporate Tory fulmination at our plans (on Iain Dale's "comments" space and elsewhere) is profoundly hypocritical.