THE YORKSHIRE Post today calls on Treasury ministers to halt changes to road tax which leaves owners of new motorhomes facing a 705 per cent increase in Vehicle Excise Duty.
For, while a desire to penalise the owners of the most polluting vehicles is understandable, its cackhanded approach to this issue does appear to be both excessive and unfair.
And that is why Ministers should use Treasury questions – Hull West and Hessle MP Emma Hardy is among a cross-party cohort of backbenchers hoping to raise this issue as Parliament reconvenes – to think again about the policy’s unintended consequences for the wider economy and environment.
Many will bemused that motorhomes have been classified as cars and that this benchmark is used to calculate emissions and, therefore, the amount of VED due to be levied. They will be surprised that so little recognition has been given to the industry’s attempts to develop engines which conform to high environmental standards.
And, as manufacturers report a downturn in demand as a direct result of these changes, they will be dismayed that no one appears to have considered the pleasure that motorhomes and campervans afford to so many people. Many are owned by families, and retired people, who have saved hard so they have the chance to support Yorkshire, and UK, tourism.
Not only does the leisure vehicle industry contribute £9.3bn to the economy, and employ 130,000 people, but the knock-on effects will hit areas like East Yorkshire where jobs linked to the sale of motorhomes, and caravans, is a key sector. These are numbers that Ministers cannot afford to ignore if they’re committed to helping the North’s economy.
For, if not, the choice facing some will be overseas holidays and, in turn, an increase in emissions from aircraft – the precise opposite of the Government’s intentions.