George Osborne is listening to those who want to scrap the fuel duty increase that New Labour said was a good idea. Any tax that can be called green was fashionable to the New Labour Islington set and therefore considered a good idea.
It’s hardly a secret that I’m somewhat anti-car. There are far too many of them, most used for frivolous purposes and government policy has always pandered to the motoring lobby rather than good sense. However, motoring taxes are not the way forward. Why? Because the only people they affect are the poor, people in rural areas and those for whom motorised transport is a necessity. Blair and Brown thought it a good wheeze to tax the poor back on to bicycles.
Taxing cars based on fuel consumption or engine size is also anti-poor. The rich can and do buy new cars frequently, and therefore avoid the effect of the taxes. It also encourages car production, wasting natural resources (although promoting jobs/votes in the motor industry). Those using second-hand cars are the ones that suffer. If you can’t afford a new lower-energy car you’re hit with the taxes; if you can, you’re not. If you make do with an old car, helping the environment by not scrapping it but repairing and reusing it, you get taxed for your trouble.
Perhaps the poor don’t deserve to use a car. That appears to Blair/Brown/Milliband’s idea. I wonder how they’d like it if their cleaner couldn’t get to work, or the nurses at the hospital or the teaching assistants at the schools in the affluent areas in which politicians live, but the low-paid workers have to commute to. Its good to see a Conservative chancellor forgoing a good chance to make a quick buck in the name of being green and looking after the people.