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Road pricing structures would see motorists pay for each mile they travelled under dramatic plans to fill a £40bilion budget hole when the move to electric cars is complete. The new system would replace the current Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) car tax charges and will affect those who need to make longer journeys.
However, Brian Madderson, spokesperson for the Petrol Retailers Association (PRA) has weaned that the new system would “discriminate against the poorest”.
He warned that those living in rural areas would be “hit hardest” as they would need to cover more miles than those living in cities.
He warned that the extra miles could see many on low incomes decide it was now “unaffordable to run a car”.
Mr Madderson said: “We are deeply concerned about the government’s potential road pricing proposals.
“It is unfathomable that the government would introduce a measure that would only succeed in discriminating against the poorest in society.
“Public transport infrastructure in rural communities is near non-existent, with millions solely relying on their private vehicles to travel.
“If the regressive road pricing ‘poll-tax like’ regime came into force, those living in rural areas on low incomes would be hit the hardest as it could become unaffordable to run a car.”
The PRA has suggested that cyclists and other road users should be included in any pay-per-mile approach.
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They reveal that other road users should pay the same rate as petrol and diesel vehicles despite using cleaner forms of transport.
The PRA said a tiered pricing system would not work as this would be “wholly discriminatory” against drivers.
The AA has also addressed concerns over the new scheme, especially regarding those in rural areas.
They have supported plans for a new “Road Miles” scheme where drivers are allocated up to 3,000 free miles before charges are kicked in.
They say that those in rural areas should receive one third more to make up for the extra journeys they will likely need to complete.
The Chancellor is said to be interested in plans for a roads pricing scheme but it is believed that plans will not be put into place immediately.
Mr Madderson added that the new proposals were “startling” after being previously rejected 13 years ago.
He has also warned that the charges could impact goods and services as companies would be forced to pay more to transport products.
These charges could then be passed over to consumers which may lead to nationwide price hikes.
He said: “This method of taxation has already been rejected by the British public in 2007 when proposed by the Labour government, so it is startling to see that these proposals are even being considered.
“There has been a clear lack of consideration to the inflationary hit to goods and services.
“100 percent of fresh food is moved by road, along with over 80 percent of all other goods.
“It will be the consumer that has to bear the brunt of any increased transport costs.”
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