Old cars are punctured by Brown's classic move
Sunday 29 March 1998
Now Gordon Brown has made himself a candidate for a classic hate figure in the classic car movement. Tucked away in the small print of the Budget was a clause restricting the exemption in future to cars that were registered up to and including 1972.
Cars registered in 1973 that owners were hoping would qualify for tax exemption next January (cars, like racehorses, are deemed to have their birthdays on 1 January regardless of their actual date of production) will not now become exempt, dashing the hopes of tax-free motoring for an estimated 15,000 owners of 1973 cars still on the road. Each following year will add to the army of owners who will still have to pay if they want to keep their old cars on the road.
The new rules will save the revenue just over pounds 2m, but the Chancellor's aim has little to do with revenue raising. The decision to stop the rolling exemption is intended to discourage drivers from keeping old cars on the road on the grounds that they pollute the environment, a claim that classic car owners vigorously dispute.
The new rules may persuade some owners to scrap cars that will no longer qualify for exemption from the road fund tax, and will have a significant impact on classic car prices. In time they will create a new category of "classic" cars reflecting their tax-exempt status. But the cut-off date will inevitably create anomalies. Several popular models, including the MGB and Midget and the Mark 3 Cortina were in production before and after the cut-off date, and models built in 1972 and earlier will now become considerably more desirable than identical models of the same vehicle constructed in and after 1973.
Car enthusiasts claim that the change is unnecessary because the leaded petrol used by most pre-1980s cars will be withdrawn from sale in 2000, and classic cars will then have to convert to lead-free fuel or use lead substitutes anyway.
Owners of large cars may be hit again by proposed changes in duty rates next year cutting the tax on cars with "small, clean engines" and penalising cars with engine capacities of, perhaps, 2 litres or more.
- 1 Tourist films plane's descent just metres above packed Caribbean beach
- 2 Indian woman creates 'Marriage CV' after parents put her on dating site: 'Definitely not marriage material. Won’t grow long hair, ever'
- 3 World Book Day: Boy 'excluded' from school after dressing up as Fifty Shades' Christian Grey
- 4 Bad Jews poster 'censored' on London Tube
- 5 Have sex with your iPad thanks to the new sex toy no-one asked for
Tourist films plane's descent just metres above packed Caribbean beach
Indian woman creates 'Marriage CV' after parents put her on dating site: 'Definitely not marriage material. Won’t grow long hair, ever'
Isis 'bulldozes' Nimrud: UNESCO condemns destruction of ancient Assyrian site as a 'war crime'
Professor Brian Cox brands astrology-believing Tory MP David Tredinnick an 'outlier on the spectrum of reason'
Lynch mob kills suspected rapist in India after dragging him naked for four miles through city
Nearly 100,000 of Britain's poorest children go hungry after parents' benefits are cut
Durham Free School: 'Creationism taught at' free school facing closure
End of the licence fee: BBC to back radical overhaul of how it is funded
Elif Shafak: Turkish author warns against rise of British nationalism
Ex-head of MI6: 'We shouldn't kid ourselves that Russia is on a path to democracy'
Most people think legal tax avoidance is just as wrong as illegal tax evasion, poll suggests
iJobs Money & Business
£13000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join ...
£25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A global leader operating...
£12 - £15 Hourly Rate: Jemma Gent: In this role you will report to the Head of...
£8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This Pension Specialist was established early...