Vintage victory for car tax campaigners

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Transport Correspondent

Owners of classic cars and other vehicles over 25 years old are likely to be made exempt from road tax when a new scheme to fight tax dodging is introduced.

A consultation paper published in the spring suggested that all car owners would have to pay vehicle excise duty for their car continuously, even if they were off the road for a long period. However, when classic car owners realised they would be caught by this new regulation, they lobbied for exemption.

Current estimates suggest that there are more than 400,000 cars over 25 years old in Britain, many of which are only used in the summer, while others are off the road for several years while they are restored. Under the original proposal, once these cars were put back on the road, the owner would have had to pay tax for the whole intervening time.

However ministers, under pressure from Tory MPs who have lobbied intensively on the issue, are likely to announce the exemption at next week's Tory party conference.