Taxes and charges report response24 Jul 2009

Commenting on the publication of the Transport Select Committee report, Taxes and Charges on Road Users, the director of the RAC Foundation Professor Stephen Glaister said:

“Whilst the solutions might be complex, the problem, as the committee has recognised, is simple. Too many vehicles on too little road space and no clear explanation to drivers of exactly what they get in return for the £45 billion or so they contribute to the Exchequer each year.”

“We are pleased the committee agrees with us that there should be a shift from taxing car ownership towards charging for road usage. Every other public utility is charged for on the basis of use and there is a strong argument for doing so when it comes to roads. To an extent fuel duty already does this.”

“Whilst local charging schemes are currently meeting with vehement opposition from drivers, in the long run some sort of national road pricing – where pay-as-you-go charges are offset by reductions in vehicle tax and fuel duty – might become unavoidable to eradicate the growing menace of congestion.”

“We support calls for looking at the possible introduction of a voluntary scheme not least because the benefits in reduced congestion will be seen not just by those who sign up, but also those who remain sceptical about such an approach.”

“But for any radical policy to be successful public trust in the politicians introducing it is essential – that trust is currently lacking. It might be restored if the Department for Transport had a bigger part to play in setting charges as part of a coherent roads strategy, rather than it being left to the Treasury to tax motorists with the apparent sole intention of shoring up the nation’s ailing finances.”