EDITOR’S COMMENT: Labour considered a “pay as you go” road scheme and dropped the plan after there was a big backlash. The government should listen to the public and the motoring industry, who are united in saying NO to the poll tax on wheels. Sign our petition here.

Rishi Sunak was today warned against adopting a pay as you drive scheme to fill a £40 billion tax hole caused by the switch to electric vehicles as motoring campaigners said it would be viewed as a ‘poll tax on wheels’. The Chancellor is said to be ‘very interested’ in the idea of a national road pricing system, which would see motorists charged for every mile they drive, and he is currently considering its merits. A similar type of scheme was dramatically shelved by Labour in 2007 amid uproar that drivers could be charged up to £1.50 a mile. 

The reemergence of the policy has sparked a swift backlash, with The AA warning of a driver revolt and urging ministers to come up with a ‘more imaginative solution’. Road pricing in England is currently limited to schemes such as the M6 Toll in the Midlands, the Dartford crossing on the M25, London’s Congestion Zone and a handful of small tunnels and bridges.

But a national policy is now being considered amid fears the switch to electric vehicles will leave a massive tax shortfall because of the hit to key Treasury revenue raisers such as Fuel Duty and Vehicle Excise Duty, according to the Times. However, any move to impose such a scheme would likely spark accusations of the Government undermining its drive for more people to buy electric vehicles because one of their main benefits is the fact they are cheaper to run than traditional alternatives. 

It came amid reports Boris Johnson wants to accelerate his green plans – including bringing forward a ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars to 2030 – as critics claim the PM’s fiancee, Carrie Symonds, an environmental campaigner, is driving the push. A ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars will have a massive impact on the Government’s coffers, with VAT on fuel currently generating almost £6billion a year. Fuel Duty, currently charged at 57.95p per litre on petrol and diesel vehicles, is on course to raise £27.5billion this financial year and is forecast to bring in even more in the coming years. 

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