The Government’s deputy chief whip has called for motor tax renewals to be waived for the coming year due to the on-going cost of living crisis.
Speaking in the Dáil, Kerry TD Brendan Griffin said the Government’s vat and tax revenue has increased due to rising prices across the economy and insisted it is “only fair” they give something back to motorists.
“I welcome the measures that have been put in place to date but this is something that could very easily be done to target motorists in a very positive way and to give them break in recognition of the extraordinary high prices that are been charged for fuel,” he said.
Mr Griffin said people are “really suffering” and struggling to pay bills and called on the Government to introduce the motor tax waiver in advance of the Budget. “It’s one less bill they would have to pay over the next 12 months and I think it’s the least we could do under the circumstances,” he added.
Responding to Mr Griffin, Minister of State for Road Transport Hildergarde Naugthon said motor tax receipts for 2021 came to €908m and said legislation would be need to introduced to abolish the fee.
“Abolishing motor tax would require a legal framework to be put in place to ensure regular notification of vehicle and driver details to the end user and compliance with that framework in order to maintain an up to date vehicle database,” Ms Naughton said.
She said motor taxes have not contributed to the current cost of living crisis and said the last budget saw “major reductions” in the tax on good vehicles.
Mr Griffin said he is “clearly not talking about motor tax abolition” but rather he wanted to give motorists a break on an activity that is “already heavily taxed” and “extremely expensive”.
“I am talking about for a limited period giving people a bit of breathing space,” he said.
“I would also say by doing this, because of the structuring of our motor taxation system, we actually would be giving owners of older vehicles, people who are typically less well off, more of break than owners of newer vehicles because our ridiculous system that taxes the older cars a lot more,” he added.
He said the motor tax system means owners of new cars “pay a fraction” of taxes compared to older car owners despite newer vehicles being more valuable. He said many of the cost of living measures introduced by the government on public transport do no impact on rural dwellers who rely on their cars.