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Unclear Government guidelines for drivers

BMW UK boss Jim O’Donnell has spoken out against the taxes and red tape affecting the automotive industry.

He criticizes plans for further penalization and ‘green’ taxes from the Stern report, adding that carmakers and motorists already contribute £45bn annually to the Exchequer.

O’Donnell calls for “sensible fiscal measures rather than financial penalties” in order to ensure the global competitiveness of industry in the United Kingdom.

He says: “The principle of road pricing seems to be accepted in political circles with the Government looking to introduce a nationwide charging structure by 2015.

“However, it is not at all clear what will be the real benefit to this country. Industry in the UK already has a logistical penalty in relation to our continental competitors.

“A robust cost to benefit analysis is needed. So far this appears to be sadly lacking and the plan seems to be designed to compensate for a lack of proper transport infrastructure.”

O’Donnell’s outburst was prompted by an announcement by Transport Secretary Douglas Alexander that pilot trials of road pricing will be extended.

A report on Britain’s transport system due shortly is also predicted to back wide-ranging road tolls. The UK has also come under pressure to give up its opt-out from the European Working Time Directive. Should this happen, industry analysts fear that BMW might be forced to review its production facilities in Oxford and Swindon.

O’Donnell wouldn’t comment directly, but says: “It is music to my ears to hear the French complain that the opt-out is giving the UK a competitive advantage.”

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