Two-tier road tax: how would it work?

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Two-tier road tax: how would it work?

A new two-tier road tax proposal, revealed today, could spell the end of rush hour motorway jams and bank holiday tailbacks. If the plans are put into place, motorists could be offered the opportunity to pay a lower rate in return for staying away from main A-roads and motorways. If you agree to pay the second top-up charge, on the other hand, you’ll be free to use any roads as and when you please.

Motorists who try and beat the system would be caught by one of many automatic numberplate recognition cameras, making it impossible to cheat.

The proposed changes – which are currently being considered by the government –   are, according to a Department for Transport source, as quoted in the Sunday Times, ‘absolutely not about paying more than motorists pay at the moment.’

Whilst, in theory, the plans would lead to less congestion on main roads, there are fears that smaller roads will be hit by the increase in traffic flow.

In an attempt to reassure motorists, a spokesman for the Department for Transport has assured drivers that ‘the government has made clear it will not implement tolls on existing road capacity and has no plans to replace existing motoring taxes with pay-as-you-go road charging.’

Amidst fears, however, that the proposed changes will make journeys longer, create a hierarchy of drivers, and cause congestion elsewhere, the government are sure to come under fire from critics.

Vehicle excise duty (VED) generates £6bn a year for the Treasury, but these sums are falling. The two-tier tax system is just one of many possibilities being explored by the Department for Transport, in order to increase tax revenue; as the move towards smaller, greener cars is making road tax cheaper.

An overhaul of VED is sure to come in one way or another, and whether or not it is the two-tier system that is implemented, there is bound to be criticism from somewhere. Road tax is a necessary evil for most of us, as our cars give us our freedom. Road tax rules, however, will always see eco-friendly drivers benefit financially, so perhaps green is the way to go!

Image via Bob McCaffrey

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