Put together by the Quality of Life Policy Group, a group set up by party leader David Cameron to make recommendations to the shadow cabinet, the report is likely to be the backbone of the Conservatives’ future transport policy.
The report acknowledged the success of company car tax reforms in reducing CO2 emissions, and said that it should remain in its present form, with the bandings continued to be tightened periodically.
It also says that it should only marginally increase VED for the higher-emitting cars, and try to encourage businesses to use more video-conferencing to cut down on business travel.
Criticising the current government’s fleet strategy, the report adds: “The government has adopted a target of reducing carbon emissions from vehicles in the central government estate by 15% between 2005 and 2010. However, this target lacks a practical delivery strategy.
“The public sector spends around £2.2 billion on fleet and related activities every year, and stands to make fuel cost savings as well as emission cuts through the purchase of cleaner cars.
“An incoming Conservative government should therefore adopt a clean car procurement policy across central government, and give incentives for local government to implement a delivery strategy and effective monitoring.”
“With well over 300,000 vehicles, the public sector operates the largest fleet in the UK. Government departments and agencies should purchase clean cars to demonstrate leadership and increase the market for more fuel efficient vehicles.”
The report also claims that a national road pricing scheme would be too costly, slow and complicated to implement, and could not be guaranteed to cut emissions anyway.
It said the Conservatives should look at less ‘grandiose’ plans.
Unlike other parties’ plans to increase VED, the Conservatives would cap the cost at £500 for the most polluting cars and instead introduce a scaled purchase tax of between 0-10% of the cost of the car, dependent on its emissions. It also called for the re-introduction of grants for the cleanest cars.
Budget tax plan
Motorists opting for high-polluting vehicles are likely to be hit with a new £2,000 tax, according to a leaked Treasury paper seen by the Sunday Times.
The new tax would be paid on vehicles with high CO2 emissions, along with a higher rate of road tax that is also set to increase, according to the paper.
The document, which has been drawn up ahead of the pre-Budget report next month, also suggests that those opting for greener models will be able to claim a £2,000 rebate off the purchase price of the vehicle.