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3 Aug 2009

A new report by a committee of MPs caused a stir last week with its bold claim that motorists have lost all faith in road tax.


Thanks to poor handling and mixed messages from the Government, a cynical and disillusioned attitude has set in among drivers, including fuel card users.


The committee said: “Fuel duty has been presented, at different times, as a tool to reduce carbon emissions, a source of general revenue, and a means to fund transport investment.”


“Unacceptable” congestion charges and environmental taxes came in for particular criticism, with the MPs claiming that inconsistent government messages have caused widespread confusion and disillusionment.


Transport Committee Chair Louise Ellman added: “The government handled a phased set of increases to Vehicle Excise Duty so badly they tarnished the image of environmental taxes.”


Who could argue with the committee’s conclusion that motorists should be treated fairly and openly by those in power? Hooray for that, we say. Who among us, as we go about our daily business on the roads, has not felt at times that we are treated like a cash cow shamelessly milked for funds whenever the government feels the need?


Will the government listen to the committee? We can only hope but it is hard to be optimistic. Meanwhile, yet another increase in fuel duty is rapidly approaching the hard-pressed and anxious British road user.


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