Not that long ago, there were at least eleventy twelve different e-petitions calling for a re-introduction of a rolling ‘free’ road tax for classic cars. I didn’t sign. I actually don’t mind paying a bit of road tax – or Vehicle Excise Duty to give it its proper name – because I do like the freedom to drive my car where I want. Fair enough.
Only it isn’t really. Successive governments, but primarily Labour, have really ballsed up the tax system. In trying to incentivise sales of environmentally sound cars, road tax has become trifling on new cars. Some are entirely free, others a mere £35 or so. Yet my pre-2001 cars are left with comparitively huge annual tax bills – £145 for the 2CV and Sirion, £230 for the BX. I feel I’m being unfairly punished here. After all, by running older vehicles, I’m saving the manufacture of a new one. It isn’t like they’re thirsty, fossil-fuel munching monsters either. They all deliver 45mpg or more. The Sirion even has a catalytic converter. Tax rates for my older cars don’t account for size. It’s a flat rate bar the 1549cc cut-off that separates Sirion/2CV and BX. I could buy a 6.75-litre Rolls-Royce and it would cost the same to tax as the BX.
It’s surely about time for a change. Why not reduce the VED for pre-2001 vehicles? There can’t be that many in regular use as people blindly follow the fashion for buying new. I’m not asking for free tax, just something that doesn’t punish those of us who can’t afford or who really don’t want to buy new.
This is especially topical at the moment as I’m currently faced with not being able to tax the Sirion. It expires at the end of May, but it seems I don’t currently have the funds to pay for it. Getting the 2CV more solid has been the priority, and it has eaten up my meagre funds. Had I a car officially classed as low emission, I’d face a much smaller bill. Even a Sirion 1.0 registered after March 2001 has a tax bill of £110. £35 less, just because of when it was registered. It’s still the same car!
It does upset me greatly. VED has become a hugely unfair system, punishing the wrong people. Not that I’ll be setting up an e-petition about it. For all the use those things are, I might as well present my case via the medium of contemporary dance. (I won’t be though, sorry to disappoint).