Budget 2009 comment22 Apr 2009

Commenting on the increase in fuel duty the director of the RAC Foundation, Professor Stephen Glaister, said:

“The Chancellor continues to unfairly burden motorists with extra taxes. He wrongly assumes all motorists can easily afford these charges. In fact our research shows that increasingly it is the poor and elderly who, out of necessity, own and use cars. Already the average household spends 14% of its income on running a car. And that already large amount is just about to get even bigger. Alistair Darling talks of fairness and opportunity, but his actions are completely at odds with his sentiments. Today’s move will only penalise the unemployed who in future will increasingly have to travel further to find jobs and training.”

“And this immediate misery for motorists masks a more fundamental issue. The Chancellor’s announcements only increase an already grossly disproportionate tax burden on drivers. Year in, year out, those with cars are seen as a soft touch. The Government knows the majority of journeys on the roads are not made out of choice, but because there is no alternative way of people getting from A to B, yet ministers continue to punish a captive market.”

Talking about the proposed car scrappage scheme Professor Glaister said:

“Currently the vast majority of cars are still on the road at ten years old. Indeed at 14 years old half are still on the road. The scrappage scheme announced today risks consigning a lot of perfectly good, and relatively clean, vehicles to the dustbin. However if the scrappage scheme leads to a reduction in the average age of the national car fleet then this has to be good for road safety as more modern cars will have a wider range of safety features built-in.”

“And whilst the announcement is good for motorists and the motor industry, if it does not encourage people to buy green vehicles it is a missed opportunity as far as the environment is concerned.”