independent

Thursday 17 April 2014

Eco drivers: prepare to be punished

TAKE a bow there. You have bought more 'green' cars than they estimated. Now prepare to be punished for depriving the Exchequer of money.

That in effect is what the Government will say to you in the Budget this day week when they increase Vehicle Registration Tax (VRT) bands based on emissions. Cars that now attract 14pc VRT could get hit with 17pc, for example.

And there will be road tax rises.

It is chilling to listen to expert motor industry people talking about as few as 74,000 people buying a new car next year.

That's 6,000 down on what many regard as an appallingly low 80,000 or so for this year.

Potential customers are certainly looking at cars, going through all the details but so, so many are saying they will wait until after the Budget.

Not so much to see what impact it will have on motoring but to see what it will do to their spending power.

That is making matters extremely uncertain.

Compounding that uncertainty is a sense that people are looking for a reason not to buy at a time when everything is at such a low ebb.

And there are fears the dual-registration plans for next year – 131 for January, 132 for July – may contribute to that. For example, someone might decide to put off buying until they see what things are like in the spring. And then they might say they will wait until July for the second registration 'new' car gateway, But will they buy in July?

We can only wait and see. In the meantime the Government might remember that car sales mean jobs. The fewer of the former spells disaster for the latter. Ministers would do well to remember you can go to the well once too often.

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