Successive governments have incentivised people to buy ‘greener’ cars which use less fuel. Apart from outrageously high fuel duty with 20% VAT on top, the other tool has been Vehicle Excise Duty graded to promote low CO2 cars.
Having herded people down this road, apparently the Government now finds it cannot afford to lose the tax revenue. The Telegraph reports Drivers punished for going green:
The Daily Telegraph has learnt that government officials have begun private discussions with the motoring industry and drivers’ groups about an overhaul of the Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) rules.
The talks come as ministers try to prevent a fall in tax revenues as more motorists choose smaller, cleaner cars that incur a lower rate of duty. Labour has accused the Coalition of planning a “stealth tax” on drivers, effectively punishing them for going green.
I feel sure that my colleagues in government do not wish to apply arbitrary and capricious power to society, just as I have come to believe that Labour politicians don’t intend to destroy society itself. But to encourage one set of (expensive) behaviours with state power, only to change course when the inevitable consequences emerge is both arbitrary and capricious. Intentions have little to do with it.
Once upon a time, this kind of thing would have been called a breach of the rule of law or even despotism. It seems to be the automatic consequence of persuading the public that the state can provide. The truth is just as the old poster says: you can’t afford socialism. Conservative freedom works. I sincerely hope we start trying it soon.
See also: my quick guide to the Rule of Law.