Chancellor Hammond considers new tax on diesel vehicles
Chancellor Philip Hammond announced on Thursday evening that the Treasury was considering implementing a new tax on diesel cars as part of a move to improve air quality in the UK that was set to be unveiled in his Autumn budget on 22 November.
Hammond said the £200 levy on all sales of new diesels would be implemented to help boost environment secretary Michael Gove's clean air initiatives announced in July and would either raise VAT on diesel fuel itself or institute new taxations on diesel vehicles to lure drivers into switching to more environmentally friendly modes of transport.
The announcement was just the latest in a series of penalties for diesel drivers, leading to lower sales of traditional vehicles across the UK.
Angry drivers demanded the government reassess its position on the matter, claiming they had already been subjected to the likes of congestion charges and 'toxic taxes', along with the ever-rising cost of fuel.
Former Conservative party MP Rob Halfon told the Sun on Friday, "The Government should be providing a fuel duty freeze, no new diesel taxes and scrapping hospital car parking charges."
“We need a defence minister for motorists, not an all-out assault on workers,” he added.
While more than 1.3m diesel cars were sold in 2016, the new car market as a whole saw sales decline 12.2% throughout October, with diesel vehicles dropping a sharper 29.9% against the same time a year earlier, leading SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes to accuse Downing Street of having manufactured confusion amongst consumers regarding the government's diesel policy.
On the other hand, the burgeoning electric vehicle and hybrid segments continued to grow, up 36.9%, or 8,244 in terms of new registrations, in October alone, making up 5.2% of the total new vehicle sales market.
Germany announced it would halt the sale of new diesel cars in the future, as had Paris, Madrid, Athens and Mexico City.