Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

MP CLAIMS EXCISE DUTY ON BIG CARS IS UNFAIR; Gas Guzzler Tax Hikes 'Attack on the Poor'

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

MP CLAIMS EXCISE DUTY ON BIG CARS IS UNFAIR; Gas Guzzler Tax Hikes 'Attack on the Poor'

Article excerpt

PM GORDON Brown is facing a North East challenge over a crackdown on gas guzzling cars.

Blyth Valley MP Ronnie Campbell has called for a rethink over Treasury plans which he fears would lead to tens of thousands of families having to pay up to pounds 245 extra a year under new road tax rules, after a covert Government decision to include cars up to seven years old.

But his Commons call on the issue has been rejected by fellow senior regional MP Jim Cousins who says the Government is right to tackle pollution from older gas guzzlers through the vehicle excise duty.

The Treasury admitted this week it was abolishing the exemption for older cars from the highest rates of vehicle excise duty. This means owners of larger cars bought since March 2001 will find their road tax rises steeply from next April.

The increases are being introduced in two stages, with many owners who are now paying pounds 210 a year being charged pounds 300 in 2009 and up to pounds 455 in 2010.

Until recently motorists who drive so called "gasguzzling" cars with larger engines, that were up to seven years old, were exempt from the highest road tax band.

The new road tax was announced in last month's Budget but its impact is only now becoming clear. Owners of models including the Renault Espace, Vauxhall Zafira, VW Sharan, Ford Galaxy, Citroen C8 and Vol-vo XC90 which emit more than 225g of carbon dioxide per kilometre, will pay pounds 430 in 2010 compared to pounds 210 this year.

Owners of medium-sized cars that emit more than 180g per km, including some Ford Mondeos, will find taxes rising by up to pounds 100.

Those who try to sell cars will find the value has fallen sharply because of increases in fuel prices and road tax.

The AA said many people were falling into a "negative equity" trap, with their cars worth thousands of pounds less than outstanding loans. …

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