I know it always annoys my friend Conor Burns when I say this, but I like Chris Huhne. I'm sure if I had fought him in the last election I might have a slightly different view, but I speak as I find. However, liking someone personally, doesn't stop me critisising him politically.
Today, Chris Huhne will be outlining his plans to 'sting' Mondeo Man for £850 a year in car tax. Under LibDem environmental tax proposals car tax for a mid range saloon car would rise from £150 to £850, albeit that it would apply only to new cars. For a two litre Ford Mondeo the car tax would rise from £210 to £1500. This would have two effects. It would, at a stroke, result in many car dealerships going out of business, for that this exactly the type of car which most families buy. Secondly it will mean that hardpressed families keep their existing cars for as long as possible as they gradually turn into smoke-belching rust buckets.
This is madness and is entirely regressive, as hardworking families, already struggling to survive, find themselves priced out of cars. In rural areas they would be even more hard hit.
If we are to rebalance the tax system in favour of environmental taxation surely we should be charging on a useage basis, rather than a blunt car equivalent of a poll tax? Road pricing surely has to be the way forward, so you pay for what you use.