Vehicle tax increases 'should stay'

Plans to increase vehicle excise duty on older gas-guzzling vehicles should not be scrapped to lessen the impact of the credit crunch, a 'green' MP has urged.

The controversial measure, which would see big tax increases for many cars registered since 2001, has been attacked by Tories and Labour backbenchers.

Chancellor Alistair Darling reportedly may postpone the increase as part of a package to help hard-pressed families cope with the looming recession.

But Labour's David Chaytor, a Commons Environmental Audit Committee member, said: "The use of graduated emissions-based VED is an important measure.

"Exempting the current vehicle fleet from graduated VED, as the forces of conservatism on all sides of the House have been lobbying for, would actually be counter-productive to the Government's climate-change strategy."

The move would see all cars registered from 2001 classified on their greenhouse-gas emissions. The Treasury predicts that by 2010-11, 9.4 million drivers will face higher bills.

For 8.4 million, the tax will be about the same, while 1.4 million will see their payments fall under changes designed to hit the heaviest polluters the hardest, and due to come into effect in April.

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