The industry reacted furiously to the 'out of the blue' proposal from Transport Minister Gavin Strang last month that a one-off registration charge of £25 would apply to all new cars, vans and trucks. Strang - who wants the charge to come into force on April 1 pending Parliamentary approval - launched a consultation exercise and the SMMT, along with other motor industry and fleet industry representative groups passed on strong objections to DVLA officials. However, an SMMT spokesman said this week that further correspondence with civil servants had revealed that changes were unlikely.
'Basically it is now clear they are going to go ahead. They are not prepared to move their position,' said the spokesman. 'There has also been no indication as to where the £60-plus million generated from this will go. The result is a general feeling of concern and frustration. This has been foisted upon us and it appears we have no say in it.'
Norman Donkin, director general of the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association, also wrote to Strang, opposing the £25 fee on principle because it contributed nothing to the Government's stated goals of tackling congestion and helping the environment. 'It's a blatant revenue raising tax which did not feature in the Budget,' he said.