Autumn Budget: Crackdown on diesel as drivers face higher taxes

Rebecca Smith
Out with the diesel, in with electric?
Out with the diesel, in with electric? (Source: Getty)

Diesel drivers are facing higher taxes under a scheme set out by Philip Hammond in the chancellor's Autumn Budget today.

From April 2018, the first year's vehicle excise duty for diesel cars that fail to meet the latest standards will move up by one tax band, and the existing diesel supplement in company car tax will rise by one per cent.

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Hammond said "white van men and white van women" won't be penalised, with the measure applying to cars. And drivers buying a new car will be able to avoid this charge as soon as manufacturers bring forward the next-generation cleaner diesels.

This will help fund a new £220m clean air fund to help provide support for implementation of local air quality plans in cities up and down the UK.

Among efforts to improve the take-up of electric vehicles, Hammond also said the government will clarify the law so that motorists who charge their vehicles at work do not face benefit in kind charges.

There will be £400m for charging infrastructure for electric vehicles and another £140m for other projects related to them, Hammond added.

He suggested that the future will be driverless but "will be electric first".

The charge on diesel has been picking up speed of late, with the introduction of the T-Charge in London last month, known as the emissions surcharge. Vehicles will need to meet minimum exhaust emission standards or drivers will have to pay a daily £10 charge on top of the congestion charge.

Neil Parish MP, chair of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee, said in response to Hammond's announcement:

"Diesel cars contribute significantly to the dangerous levels of pollution experienced throughout the UK, but many people bought them in good faith.

"The government’s announcement that it will make further attempts to tackle the use of diesel vehicles is welcome, and it must be matched by a legislative drive to encourage greener transportation including through support for low emission vehicles. It should also, where possible, not disadvantage those currently using diesels who are not in the position to change their vehicle in the short term."

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