Guernsey States propose motor tax plan

Salerie Corner car park
Image caption During a public consultation on the transport strategy the number of large cars was a common issue

Motor tax could be re-introduced in Guernsey as part of moves to balance the island's transportation budget.

In 2014, Guernsey politicians voted to spend £4m per year on reforms to the transport strategy to reduce car use, including free bus fares.

The plan was proposed by the Treasury and Resources Department as an alternative to the plan by the Environment Department.

That involves a first registration tax based on vehicle width and emissions.

If the treasury plan is approved by the States then the tax on width and emissions would be scrapped and the motor tax, which was ended in 2008, would be re-instated.

Treasury and Resources Minister Gavin St Pier said a delay in paid parking and proposed changes to the first registration duty left a shortfall in the transport budget.

He said: "Unless the States resolves - which it has not yet done - to make substantive change to the strategy it has adopted, the treasury has a responsibility to bring forward options to close that gap.

'Perverse incentive'

"The department recognises that when motor tax was abolished in 2008, there was a corresponding increase in fuel duty of about 14 pence per litre.

"[The proposal] anticipates this increase in fuel duty being reversed out if motor tax is reintroduced."

Deputy St Pier said re-introducing motor tax did not mean a return to tax discs in cars. He said changes in the UK to digital registration could be mirrored in Guernsey.

Deputy Peter Harwood, a member of the Environment Department, said the lack of costings in the proposals "raised more questions than answers".

He said unlike the registration tax, which is a "polluter pays" scheme, a motor tax would be a "perverse incentive to use the car more".

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