6 March 1998

Charles Secrett, Director, Friends of the Earth


Charles Secrett

We've got a crazy system in this country. It doesn’t seem to us to make any sense at all that people who drive small, sensible, fuel efficient cars are taxed at the same rate as people who drive very expensive, polluting, gas-guzzlers. They don’t do it on the continent. Why do it here?

There are a number of different taxes so far as driving and roads are concerned. We have an opportunity to change the road tax system, as Labour promised to do in opposition. We could use that tax so that the most fuel efficient cars and their owners pay the least road tax. That seems to us to be sensible. The people who cause the most pollution by driving the most inefficient cars and who use the most petrol and gas should pay the most. The polluter pays the most. Isn't that fair?

This was a debate in the run up to the election and actually I didn't think there was much difference between the two main parties. Certainly, Ken Clarke, when he was Chancellor, under the last Government, reduced taxation on the cleaner fuels. Labour promised, when they got into Government, they would change this system of taxation so that the cleaner cars, the more fuel efficient cars, pay the least tax and this seems to us to be a very sensible thing to do. Let's have the Chancellor, Mr Brown, implement what the Government promised.

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