An EC Commission report says that the gap between new car prices in Britain and those in Europe has widened in the last six months, with certain models costing upto 76 per cent more in the UK than on the Continent, reports the UK`s `Independent` newspaper (13/7/00).

The report, published today (13/7/00), reveals the Vauxhall Astra is 54 per cent more expensive in the UK than in the cheapest European country, while the Renault Laguna is 60 per cent higher. The biggest difference, according to the report, is the Fiat Bravo, which is 76 per cent higher in Britain than in Europe.

This latest report shows that for nearly all of the 77 models examined, the UK market is revealed as the most expensive in Europe.

In response to the EC survey, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders said that the report was written at the time when the pound had strengthened by 10 per cent since the last survey, and that the euro was at its lowest point against sterling.