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A taxing question


With regard to the views expressed by John Dawson, policy director of the AA (NCE 17 July) there is no doubt that transport users now pay more in taxes than is spent on transport.

It was not always thus. In 1980 expenditure on transport was of the same order as tax from transport. The 'gap' built up between 1980 and 1997 - at some £25bn - was equal to the sum that the Conservative government 'saved' taxpayers by reducing income tax from 33p in the pound to 23p.

Nevertheless, while transport users pay far more in total, the costs of motoring are falling, in real terms, while incomes rise.

Would the AA therefore support increasing income tax, so motorists - the great majority of whom must be tax payers - pay less for petrol?

Even with the present level of motoring taxation, car ownership and use is expected to increase by up to 50% over the next two to three decades.

Charging for use of road space appears to be one of the tools that has to be accepted if large parts of the country are not to become permanently congested.

It would seem sensible for other transport taxes to be reduced by the sums raised by congestion charging, so the effect for motorists overall are neutral.

PL Sulley, (M), The Glass House, Benover Road, Yalding, Maidstone, Kent ME18 6AU

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