Reforming the tax system for fuel cell vehicles

If politics involves a balancing of short-term expediency and strategic vision, then the former was allowed an overweening influence on November's pre-Budget report. In looking to get the Government off the hook with motorists, the Chancellor signalled an end to any serious use of the fuel price mechanism to discourage traffic for some time ahead, and abandoned his pledge to make lorries pay their external costs through VED. Instead, fiscal carrots to encourage more fuel-efficient vehicles were the order of the day - along with an express new goal for the UK to have the lowest VED rates for so-called clean lorries in Europe. These policy twists and somersaults meant forgetting for the moment the Government's target to expand rail freight, as well as weakening the drive to curb transport emissions of carbon dioxide.

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