portlypete's Diaryland Diary

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Another Tax, Wrapped Up In Green Paper

There has been a lot of brouhaha (I love that word) recently about pollution from diesel vehicles in our cities, so the government has acted decisively, in its usual manner: viz, by disregarding the original issue and taking the opportunity to slap on another stealth tax - or so it seems to me.

The tax was first announced in the Summer 2015 Budget, so we've had plenty of time to get over the initial spleen-venting period, but I can't really get my head around how it all works, and how it will reduce pollution.

As I understand it, a new petrol OR particulate-spouting diesel car, after the first year, will be taxed at 140 GBP p.a. But a cleaner alternative fuel vehicle (hybrids, bioethanol and LPG) will be taxed at 130 GBP!

Does that make any sense? and will that kill the cleaner car market stone dead? After all, why shell out for a considerably more expensive hybrid car, which should emit virtually no pollution when driving in a city, when you are going to get taxed almost the same as a gas-guzzler?

But, I am a bear of very little brain, so I took counsel from the Wonderful WWW. The Telegraph from July 2015 explains the system. Here are some snippets from the article:

'... there will be a new supplement of £310 per year on cars costing more than £40,000 [good so far, but] - even zero-emission electric cars.'

'Ultra low-emission vehicles like the Audi A3 e-tron will be subject to tax for the first time.'

'... if you want a performance model or a 4x4 that emits lots of carbon dioxide, you might be better off waiting [until after April 2017] - especially if you're intending to keep hold of it for longer.'

I don't think I'll be buying a new car any time soon, so why should I care? Except, as I pound the London streets, breathing in the foul air and glancing up occasionally at the pall of grey, lung-clogging smog lingering above, I will probably wonder, "does the government take me for a mug, and how does this, in any way, address the problem of the poisonous air in our cities?"

In other (late) news:
'The government has placed electric vehicles at the heart of a green paper outlining its ‘post-Brexit’ Industrial Strategy ...It states: “Electric vehicles are less polluting and cheaper to run." ' [www.airqualitynews.com/2017/01/23]

Good luck with that one then. Joined-up thinking has never been our government's forte.

5:40 p.m. - 11 April, 2017

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