The parliamentary debate, which started as a discussion on clean fuels, turned to the subject of fleet taxation when Conservative transport spokesman Malcolm Moss MP rounded on David Jamieson, Minister of Transport. Moss accused the Government of targeting company car drivers unfairly with the CO2 system, calling it 'another stealth tax to add to the Chancellor's coffers.'
He said: 'Is not the minister aware that, for many, a company car is a vital tool for business and public transport is simply not an option?
'I hope that the Government changes its mind and realises the job of company car fleet management is an integral part of our economy, not an evil to be rooted out. The minister should be working with the fleet industry to encourage it to take up cleaner LPG vehicles, not hitting it with a new tax.'
Targeting company cars was the wrong strategy, Moss argued: 'Company cars are the most environmentally friendly on our roads. The plan to abolish mileage allowances and use CO2 emissions to calculate taxation levels will hit the pockets of those who need their cars for business. Old cars cause the majority of vehicle air pollution. When is the Government going to do something about the real polluters?'
Andrew Miller, Labour MP for Ellesmere Port and Neston, home of the Vauxhall Astra and new Vectra, attempted to defend the Government's intentions, saying company car drivers should be encouraging managers to move away from 1.9-litre diesels 'to a more environmentally friendly car'.