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Driver group slates Government plans for VED tax hike on gas-guzzlers

GOVERNMENT plans to increase Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) for drivers choosing 'gas-guzzling' cars have been criticised by the Association of British Drivers (ABD).

As reported on Fleet NewsNet last week, ministers are concerned that existing VED rates are insufficient to deter people from choosing cars that cause the most damage to the environment through their high emissions.

The plans, subject to detailed discussions between the Treasury and the Department for Transport, will aim at persuading more motorists to chose smaller, more efficient vehicles. The ABD has condemned the plans as unreasonable and unjust.

Transport spokesman Mark McArthur-Christie said: 'Each driver in the UK is already paying about £1,500 a year in taxes to sit in traffic jams, on poorly-maintained roads and with few alternatives. This threatened tax hike just increases the burden to an untenable level. The Government seems to have forgotten the fuel protests of 2002.'

The ABD argues that drivers of larger cars are already penalised through fuel duty – already the highest in Europe.

ABD chairman Brian Gregory said: 'Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown knows he can't hike the 85% tax take from petrol much further, so now he's looking for other stealth taxes to hit drivers. It is time he realised that the UK's 36 million drivers are also voters.'

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