Southerners stung by UK’s highest road tax hike

  • Drivers in the south to be hit hardest in tax rise
  • Car owners in Kingston-Upon-Thames will pay the most
  • Based on the location of highest emitting new cars

Drivers in Kingston-upon-Thames will pay more than those in Kingston-upon-Hull under the April 2009 road tax shake-up, opening up a North-South divide.

Using official regional registration figures, obtained from the House of Commons Library, Parker's has discovered that London and the South East has the largest proportion of high-emission cars in the most expensive tax bands.

This means vastly increased tax bills for 150,000 (5.7% of all in the region) drivers in London and 215,000 (4.8%) in the South East, totalling an EXTRA £86 million in 2009.

This is in contrast to the North East and North West regions where only 30,000 (3.0% of the total) and 115,000 (3.6%) motorists, respectively will pay a total of £39 million more.

Windsor and Maidenhead, in the Royal Borough of Berkshire, top the list for high-polluters. All regions in the top five are in the south east and one in four cars on the road in Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Surrey produce 186 grams per kilometre of carbon dioxide or more and fall into the highest tax brackets.

Doubling tax bills 

More than one million drivers across Britain will be affected by the largest tax hike when their cars temporarily join Band K next year before moving into Bands L and M in 2010. Owners of high-emission vehicles registered before the 23rd March 2006 currently pay £210 a year for road tax. But these costs will more than double over the next two years – with some drivers facing annual tax bills of up to £455.

This will generate almost £300 million extra in road tax revenue next year.

Tax on high polluters in the south east will boost the Government’s coffers by £52 million in 2009, while drivers in the capital will pay a total of £34 million more over the same period. A showroom tax - due to be introduced in 2010 - will mean that some new cars will pay £950 in their first year of registration.

When the previous road tax laws changed in March 2006, high-emission models registered before this cut-off date were unaffected and remained in the same tax band. This guarded car owners, who had bought their vehicles before the new plans were revealed, against a hidden and sudden increase.

'Totally unfair'

However, the upcoming rule changes in April 2009 offer no such protection to owners who are forced to pay the retrospective tax, which has been branded 'totally unfair' by Conservative MP Justine Greening.

'Taxing people retrospectively for cars they bought years ago when they couldn’t possibly have known road tax would increase so dramatically is totally unfair,' she told Parker's.

'Worst of all, the Treasury seems to be unaware to which the extent it’ll hit low income families.'

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