Two-tier road tax plan would exclude some drivers from motorways


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The Independent Online

Poorer drivers could be priced off motorways under plans being examined to set up a two-tier system of road tax. The proposal is being considered by Whitehall officials as they consider how to reform vehicle excise duty, which currently raises £6bn a year for the Treasury.

It would see all motorists paying a basic charge to use local roads, including smaller A-roads. But if they wanted to venture on to motorways and major A-roads they would have had to pay a second top-up charge.

Motorists who did not pay the extra levy but still used trunk roads would be caught by automatic number-plate recognition cameras.

Paul Watters, an AA spokesman, said: "We do not want a first and second-class system on the roads."

He warned that the move could increase congestion on smaller roads as poorer motorists were forced to avoid motorways.

Alternatives being considered by the Department for Transport and the Treasury include creating more toll roads in return for passing responsibility for road-building to private companies.