Motorists face road tax hike

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Since recession-hit consumers appear to be facing higher bills at every turn, it will come as no surprise to find that road tax on many new cars is set to double from today.

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Thanks to a new Government "green tax", UK vehicles will now be sorted into one of 13 emission "bands".

As expected, those with the highest polluting vehicles will pay the most but they will also face a new "showroom tax". Designed to deter motorists from purchasing gas-guzzlers and emission-heavy, powerful cars, nine of the 13 bands will incur the new fees.

The new scheme means that those at the top end of the emissions scale will pay £950 in their first year, including both the showroom tax and the increased road tax. Those who already own one of the six million cars that fall into the higher bands will also face sizeable increases - at more than double the rate of inflation, in fact. On the flip side, small cars with low emissions will enjoy a tax-free first year.

The Treasury insists that the new regime would "send a stronger signal to the buyer about the environmental implications of their car purchase".

Motorists' groups, however, are concerned that the increase is just another revenue-raising Government brainwave. Paul Watters, head of public affairs at the AA, told The Telegraph: "The problem is that with any new tax, once it is introduced we have crossed a threshold. It's open then for any Chancellor to increase it."

And Mark Wallace, of the Taxpayer's Alliance, condemned the move as "naked money-grabbing dressed up as green taxes".

But what do you think? Will tax increases encourage motorists to choose low-emission vehicles or is it yet another blow to consumers already hit by the ever-increasing price of fuel?