Steady the ship, motor industry urges Chancellor

25 October 2005 #SMMT News

SMMT has written to Chancellor Gordon Brown MP urging against any major change to motoring taxes in November’s Pre-Budget Report.

Soaring fuel costs have increased the burden for both business and motorists, and now is not the time for tax rises. A clear message of stability and continuity will help ease economic uncertainty in the short term and show that government is committed to the future of Britain’s 30 million motorists and 800,000 people working in the automotive sector.

SMMT chief executive Christopher Macgowan commented, ‘The UK leads Europe with a complex set of motoring taxes based on carbon dioxide emissions. This, and initiatives like the colour-coded new car label, are helping drive the market for lower carbon vehicles. At times of high oil prices, consumers need clear information and practical help to reduce their motoring costs and CO2 emissions, not further tax increases.

‘UK motoring taxes have undergone major restructuring and car buyers and manufacturers are coming to terms with this. Government should assess their impact before embarking on any change. As the economic outlook has become less clear, we call on the Chancellor to steady the ship and avoid the temptation to sail towards stormy waters by raising taxes.’

In addition to soaring fuel, energy and input costs, the regulatory burden continues to threaten automotive competitiveness. A lean regulatory framework is key to encouraging investment in the UK and Europe. SMMT welcomed the government’s action plan to implement the recommendations of Hampton and the Better Regulation Task Force. The sector has reinforced its commitment to work with government to identify unnecessary regulation, to minimise costs for UK-based vehicle makers and component suppliers.

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