Blog: Dave LeggettUK Budget: new VED rates at a glance

Dave Leggett | 13 March 2008

I just came across a neat table that summarises the changed road tax (Vehicle Excise Duty) rates for passenger cars announced in Britain yesterday. You can see the existing system and also how it changes over the next couple of years. It also helpfully provides examples of what vehicles fall where.

From where I'm sat it wasn't a great Budget. Drinking alcohol and driving cars seem to have been punished to raise a bit of money. Worrying thing is, the hole in government finances could easily become a lot bigger soon if the economy does not turn around quickly and much worse to come, in terms of taxation, could be around the corner.

I'm generally okay with green measures actually, but planning to put road fuel duty up by more than the rate of inflation for the next four years seems harsh when the market is already taking the price of petrol way over where we thought it would be. I would have thought that policy could be a little more flexible according to circs - but the Government needs the money. Drinkers are clearly being clobbered for tax also, under the cover of doing something about all the anti-social binge drinking that goes on.

One thing that strikes me as fair is the idea of abolishing road tax and sticking it all on fuel duty instead. That way you pay tax according to what you drive and how you use it. There's also an associated admin saving and it's just intellectually a whole lot neater. 

One small point. It's worrying how some loaded terms get promoted to general parlance along with all kinds of connotations and unspoken assumptions. 'Gas guzzlers' is one. I'd rather see impartial news reporting qualify that term or use something more impartial and descriptive like 'large cars'. 'Climate change' is another term being bandied about a little too freely. And what exactly is the problem of 'binge drinking'? Is it a bunch of teenagers in a city park drinking cider and abusing passers by? Or an old fart occasionally stuck in front of the telly watching old Michael Caine films while caning a good bottle of malt whisky? It's the simplistic media appropriation of such terms in isolation that makes me feel uneasy.

Are you for or against 'gas guzzlers'? It's just not that simple... 

VED rates


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