taxes

Road tax proposal labelled ‘idiotic’ – Tony Blair’s pay-per-mile plan rejected in poll

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None of Tony Blair’s road tax ideas was worth supporting, according to 86 percent of voters who took part in a poll of 3,933 people held from 11am September 2 to 1pm September 3.

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So, what did he suggest?

• A flat rate per mile, incentivising people to drive less. The flat rate could vary by vehicle weight and fuel consumption to reflect the trip and vehicle’s greenhouse-gas and air-pollution impact. Drivers would only be charged after a ‘free allowance’ of miles.

• More congestion area charges, like the one currently operating in London. Stockholm, Oslo, Bergen and Gothenburg use systems that charge vehicles each time they enter different zones. Mr Blair suggested that the charges should depend on the time of day and could be capped at a daily maximum.

• A “time-based system” where drivers are charged based on the amount of time spent driving. He argued that it would incentivise people to avoid congested roads, but acknowledged that it could incentivise speeding.

• A “charge-per-journey” model, whereby drivers log their journey into an app on their phone or through a built-in device, and a real-time cost is taken from a prepaid account. Similar to how people use Uber services today. Mr Blair acknowledged that this system could be deemed as an invasion of privacy, and 84 percent of Express voters agreed.

Of his proposals, a flat-rate per mile tax system was the most popular, as nine percent of voters said they would support it.

One reader commented: “I do hardly any mileage so this would save me lots of money, however, I can’t support anything proposed by that warmonger!”

A voter said: “He is the biggest idiot walking on this earth.

“If they charged per mile, that is going to overload businesses with costs and then the consumers will suffer, as all the extra costs will get passed down and the cost of goods will be through the roof.”

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Another person argued that Mr Blair’s road tax structures would “make driving a thing for the wealthy only”.

But Mr Blair has claimed a change in road tax is vital in reducing driver inequality.

He points out that the ban on petrol and diesel cars by 2030 means that richer drivers, who can afford to buy new electric cars, are paying “virtually no tax” whilst diesel and petrol motorists are out of pocket.

When taking into consideration the cost of petrol, fuel duty and Vehicle Excise Duty (VED), the overall cost of running an electric car is 71 percent lower, and the amount paid in tax is 98 percent lower.

It is around £1,100 per year to run the average petrol or diesel car, whilst the total comes to just £320 for an electric vehicle.

Mr Blair wrote that “our system of taxing car usage is based around taxing fossil fuels” and a move to pay-by-mile would level the playing field, charging electric car owners and petrol and diesel car owners equally.

But climate activists say that the move would de-incentivise people to buy electric cars, which are far healthier for the local and global environment.

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Though the vast majority of voters did not like the sound of Mr Blair’s tax ideas, 36 percent said that the road tax system needs to change as we get nearer to the ban on petrol and diesel cars.

Disdain for Mr Blair appeared to taint voters’ decisions about his road tax ideas.

One voter commented: “I answered NO to everything! Only because of the name it is associated with!”

Some readers argued that the government should instead focus on taxing the mega-rich for regular use of air travel.

A voter said: “I would support a pay-by-mile tax on private jets, even regular jets for that matter.

“We see celebrities unhindered traveling the planet. Let’s tax them!”

Others suggested that the government should bring in a new road tax on cyclists to raise funds.

One Express.co.uk commenter said: “Cyclists MUST be made accountable for their road use and abuse.”

Do you agree? Let us know in the comment section.

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Read More: Road tax proposal labelled ‘idiotic’ – Tony Blair’s pay-per-mile plan rejected in poll