A car tax ‘holiday’ is among the measures needed to support motorists through the cost-of-living crisis, according to Carwow.
With a new Prime Minister due to be appointed in September, Hugo Griffiths, consumer editor at Carwow, is urging Conservative leadership candidates to recognise how vital cars are to people up and down the country, and stop making transport policies that don’t reflect how people in the UK really live.
He said: “The next Prime Minister needs to bear in mind that 36 million people hold driving licences, and 78% of households have at least one car.
“‘Motorist’ is therefore effectively synonymous with ‘voter’, and for too long voters have been made to feel guilty for using their cars when public transport is either ruinously expensive, or simply non-existent.”
In March, the Government introduced a fuel duty cut, but market volatility meant many motorists felt little impact from it. Fuel prices have since soared and now stand at around £2 per litre.
It is believed that more than a third of motorists would abandon their cars in favour of public transport if fuel prices continue to rise above their current average of over £100 for a tank of petrol.
Griffiths believes that giving drivers a 12-month payment holiday from Vehicle Excise Duty would be a more direct saving, and one that could be means tested so those who pay the £355 ‘luxury car’ road tax supplement are ineligible for the cut.
He said: “Not properly addressing soaring fuel prices and the looming ban on new cars with internal combustion engines serves only to alienate drivers from those elected to govern us.
“Cutting VAT on electric cars costing less than £40,000 is one thing that could be considered, while public discussions about how we will replace the £28bn of fuel duty petrol and diesel cars bring in each year also need to begin in earnest.”
A number of the candidates have already pledged to help with rising motoring costs if they are elected leader. Before he withdrew, Sajid Javid promised to cut fuel duty by 10p, and Penny Mordaunt has pledged to cut VAT on fuel by 50%.
Referring to the government’s Net Zero strategy, which was expanded to include a ban on the sale of new petrol motorcycles and mopeds, Griffiths added: “Lofty Government ambitions, such as the one that half of all urban journeys should be walked or cycled by 2030, bear little resemblance to a wet Wednesday afternoon in November when parents are trying to transport primary-school children from one end of town to the other.
“Drivers are also understandably concerned about the affordability of EVs as we edge closer to 2030 and 2035. Rather than cut incentives, as was done recently with the winding up of the £1,500 Plug-in Car Grant, the next PM should turn to Germany, where a combination of Government and manufacturer incentives contribute up to €9,000 towards the cost of a new electric car.”