|London, 18 Nov 1999.
For immediate release.
'It doesn't matter how Tony Blair and his advisors try to spin it, the Labour party is blatantly anti-car' states Mark McArthur-Christie, the Association of British Drivers Roads and Traffic Spokesman. 'These new taxes come on top of an average £1,300 annual tax take from each UK driver, new proposals for higher vehicle excise duty (tax discs) and more fuel tax increases in the next budget. It's time to lay off the driver'.
McArthur-Christie continues 'The Government knows that public transport is inadequate and can never replace the freedom and flexibility that people need for modern travelling. John Prescott has to resort to tax compulsion because he knows that people will not choose public transport freely, it is hopelessly unreliable, dirty, expensive and unsafe.'
Labour suggests that these new taxes will be used to improve public transport but drivers are already paying in excess of £33 billion a year in car taxes, more than the Treasury takes in Corporation Tax. The Government's aim appears to be to turn the tax screw tighter and tighter until drivers can no longer afford their cars and are paralysed.
'Britain's drivers bear one of the highest tax burdens in Europe, yet we spend only £96 per person per year on our roads. Many of our European competitors spend more than twice this amount' states McArthur-Christie. 'The Government needs to recognise that the car should be the key element of truly integrated transport, not look to ban it and tax it off the road. The social and economic implications of this policy will be disastrous. Travellers should be able to choose freely to travel in the best way for them, not be forced by high taxes to use the poor alternative of public transport'.