Motorists could soon have to pay a higher rate of road tax for the right to drive on Britain’s motorways, if rather worrying plans being examined by the Government get the go-ahead.
A two-tier system is being suggested, charging those car owners who only drive locally and stay off major roads significantly less than those who have to use the motorways.
The timing of this could hardly be worse for a coalition which claims to be desperate to prove that it is just as ‘One Nation’ as Ed Miliband’s opposition.
So it would seem bizarre to press ahead with a scheme which motoring organisation The AA believes is convinced would price as many as a third of motorists off the motorway system, forcing them into taking longer journeys on smaller roads.
And imagine the scenario for business people in Shropshire, needing to travel to London. Already denied a direct rail connection, their journey to the capital, avoiding the motorway network, would be truly tortuous, and totally impractical.
And then there is the cost of enforcing the rules. Transport authorities would have to monitor all vehicles using the motorway system to see if they had paid the higher rate of tax – an investment which would blow a huge hole in any financial gains for the exchequer.
Motorists must already feel like helpless cash cows, milked incessantly by escalating Government fuel duty, sky-high taxes on company cars, and growing insurance premiums.
The last thing we want to see on top of this is a first and second class system on our roads; particularly one which will surely lead to slower journeys and more congestion for the frustrated majority.