James Duddridge, MP for Rochford and Southend East, has today expressed concern about plans to hike taxes on family cars, warning that working families across Southend will find it even harder to cope with the soaring cost of living.

The Government is to change the way that car tax is calculated in such a way that working families will see their bills rise heavily. As well as the usual road tax (Vehicle Excise Duty) being substantially increased, people will have to pay a one-off tax whenever they buy a new car – so the tax bill for a typical Ford Mondeo will rise from £210 to £310 a year, with the new £550 ‘showroom’ tax on top.

Furthermore, the new rules will be applied retrospectively, meaning that anyone who has bought a car since 2001 will be hit by the higher rates.

Speaking today, James said:

“This is yet another slap in the face for hard-working families from Labour, on top of the 10p income tax hikes, at a time when families are already feeling the pinch of the rising cost of living thanks to higher fuel prices, energy bills and food costs. The Government should scrap its plans for a big increase in road tax on family cars.

“Any change in road tax should focus only on the most polluting vehicles, and be offset by equivalent reductions in family taxes. The Government’s own projections show that the changes will hardly reduce carbon emissions, so there’s no environmental defence to be made – it’s simply a case of Gordon Brown looking for new ways to push up his notorious stealth taxes even further.”

2 June 2008