25 March 1998

Mark McArthur-Christie, Campaigns Manager, Association of British Drivers.

The Association of British Drivers believes the attacks on drivers in the Budget were both unreasonable and unnecessary. Ordinary drivers are already paying over 1,200 each in car taxes every year.

The total tax take from road users now accounts for 1 in every 8 of public expenditure, a take of 24 billion a year from drivers, only 9 billion of which is reinvested in roads and transport.

The increases in fuel duty will hit the most vulnerable in society particularly hard. The elderly, the disabled and those in rural areas who rely on their cars will now be forced to pay more.

Many drivers have no option but to use their cars to travel to work. To tax them for using their only viable method of transport is inequitable. There are many drivers who feel that they are sitting targets for easy revenue raising.

The proposed spending on public transport will have little or no real impact on the transport network after decades of underinvestment and privatisation.

In addition, even the most flexible public transport services can never match the freedom, flexibility, comfort and safety of the car. Public transport is instead often a filthy, unsafe, unreliable and inflexible shambles. It is little wonder that people use their cars.

Given the considerably greater proportion of noxious emissions from power generation, domestic, commercial and industrial sources, it seems strange that nothing was done to target these areas.

The ABD believes that car taxes should be ring-fenced and spent on improving the UK's road network – not used as a stick to drive motorists out of their cars and onto an inadequate public transport system.

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