More than 600 responses were received to a public consultation on the future of vehicle excise duty, commonly known as road tax.
The consultation was carried out by the Department of Infrastructure and featured a range of questions asking for people’s opinions on the collection of road tax and how the system may be modernised.
The collection of road tax has become increasingly complicated, with the current administration system containing more than 80 different payment categories. With discrepancies becoming more apparent, the Department is taking the opportunity to carry out a root and branch review of the issue.
A commitment was expressed within the consultation document to introduce road tax payments by instalments and to assess new licensing technology. Also included was an overview of how other countries achieve the revenue required to ensure their highways remain fit for purpose.
Significant findings raised by the consultation included:
- 84% were against taxing vehicles progressively more as they get older
- Opinion was split over classic cars paying reduced road tax, as they currently do, with 54% in favour and 45% against
- 89% were against the introduction of a congestion charge to drive into major centres of population
- The majority of respondents, 58%, expressed the view that road tax should not be used to influence people’s purchasing decisions
- 57% thought the maintenance of roads should continue to be funded through the collection of road tax, with 28% in favour of charging per mile driven
- There was a firm desire among several respondents to keep any new or replacement system simple, and to avoid unnecessary complication
The results of the consultation are in the process of being considered and will help shape the development of policy in the future.
Kate Lord-Brennan MLC, Member with responsibility for highways, said:
‘The way we pay for the Island’s roads to be maintained is too complicated at present, and assessing the views of drivers and other roads users is crucial in forming a clear picture of how people want it to work. All feedback received during the consultation will be considered as the review progresses.’
Comments were received from a number of individuals who suggested duty should be placed on fuel, making the argument that the people who used the roads most would contribute more. However, the consultation document included an explanation on how this would not be possible under restrictions placed on the Isle of Man Government as part of the current Customs and Excise Agreement with the United Kingdom.
Minister for Infrastructure Ray Harmer MHK said:
‘Gathering people’s views in this way is invaluable in helping to plan how road tax should be collected in the future, and I thank those who took the time to get involved and offer their opinion.’