I laid a successful amendment to the transport strategy effectively exempting commercial vehicles from the width tax and capping the charge for commercial vehicles to £2,000. My speech is below.
Sir, my amendment is purely focused on just one aspect which was common to both strategies and that is the First Registration Duty.
Before I begin, I thought it would be useful for members to know that I have a business which runs an Aixam Megavan – Mega by name but not exactly nature a rather quirky it has to be admitted, delivery van, but we have no intention of replacing it in the foreseeable future.
As I stated in the earlier debate on the minority report, I do believe that structurally, the main report bandings and charges will have little effect on decision making behaviour. The minority report structure has/had more teeth.
However, where both failed as far as I’m concerned, is in relation to the effect it will have on the commercial sector.
Yes we have big vans on this Island and yes they can be annoying when you are going down a narrow lane. BUT, businesses don’t buy vans to make a statement. It’s not like buying a Chelsea tractor that never sees a speck of mud. These are working vehicles that have a purpose. A skip lorry carries a skip and has to be a certain size , a fuel lorry carries fuel and a cesspit lorry carries, well I don’t think I need to say any more.
The size of the vehicle is not a lifestyle decision and in the current economic climate a business is going to go for the smallest and cheapest vehicle it can get away with.
To discriminate against businesses because of the vehicle they HAVE to use is completely illogical.
No change is proposed to CO2 emissions. As I stated earlier, I believe it is absolutely right that a charge should be placed on vehicles in that respect as it is possible for businesses to make a choice and I would want to encourage businesses to buy new fuel efficient vans and lorries rather than older vehicles that are a greater cause of pollution.
This amendment will have little effect on the smallest vans – the Fiat Fiorina or Transit Courier which would fall under the width element anyway.
However, this will significantly cut the charges for Doblo £50, Scudo £1,750 and Ducato £2,250.
However, this will cut the charges for a Doblo by £400, Scudo £800 and Ducato by £400.
I think it should be pretty straightforward to ensure vehicles are being used for commercial purposes, with minimal work, especially if we consider this in the context of a whole new tax system. No extra forms will be required, with the information necessary obtainable from the V55 form and the vehicle registration form amended to state that the vehcile is for business purposes, together with the company name and tax no. The form will need to be amended anyway to include the CO2 emissions. In order to ensure width duty is paid should the vehicle cease to be used for business purpose, this can be picked up through updating the vehicle transfer form.
Better still, it is clear to me from looking at the information currently online that this whole process cries out for modernisation. It is daft that you can download a form from the internet but then have to travel to Bulwer Avenue, by whatever means of transport, to register your vehicle. If eGovernment means anything it should be at the heart of the Driver and Vehicle Licencing process.
I do feel like I stand here on a regular basis questioning new policy initiatives that will hit business. So I am again here today. But I will continue doing so if it means I can prevent more unnecessary red tape, more businesses going bust and resultant job losses as it is the whole community that suffers in the end.
This amendment won’t eradicate increased costs completely, but will enable businesses to make a decision in terms of CO2 emissions, which I believe is fair and reasonable in the context of the strategy as a whole.
I therefore urge all members to support this amendment.