A planned tax hike on second-hand cars must be reconsidered, a Birmingham Labour MP has warned the Government.
Richard Burden called on ministers to think again over plans to increase car tax on the most polluting vehicles to up to £455 – for any car registered since 2001.
He urged Alistair Darling, the Chancellor, to rethink the plan before it comes to the Commons as part of the pre-Budget report towards the end of the year.
But Mr Burden defended his decision to vote with the Government in last night’s Commons debate and against a Conservative amendment that would have made second-hand vehicles exempt.
The Tory bid to amend the Finance Bill to stop the change was rejected by 303 to 240, Government majority 63.
According to Tory calculations, the changes will mean 2.3 million cars, including Citroen C8s, Ford Mondeos and Vauxhall Astras, become eligible for higher rates of vehicle excise duty.
But the Government says that most cars will actually be charged at a lower rate than previously, and that low income families will benefit most because they tend to own smaller cars.
A parliamentary motion branding the move “retrospective” and urging Mr Darling to reconsider his decision was signed by 49 Labour MPs including Lynne Jones (Lab Selly Oak), Brian Jenkins (Lab Tamworth), Bill Olner (Lab Nuneaton), and Janet Dean (Lab Burton). Mr Burden did not sign the motion, but he urged the Government to revise the policy.
He said: “The principle is right, but the problem comes when you apply it to any vehicle registered since 2001 in the manner proposed.
“We want families to switch to more fuel-efficient vehicles. But the danger is that the value of the car they own is reduced, so that they cannot afford to move to a cleaner one. It risks creating a type of poverty trap where people are unable to sell their car and buy a more efficient one.”
He said the Tories had failed to think through their proposals.
“If we are serious about green taxes and using taxation to try to incentivise people to make greener choices, we can’t just have this knee-jerk reaction. We need to take the time to consider this properly.’’
Robert Marris (Wolverhampton SW), another prominent Labour critic of the plans said: “I hope that he (Mr Darling) reconsiders carefully, and is not in any way stampeded by some of the siren voices around us. This is a complex issue which needs to be looked at in the round.”