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Budget road tax hike will hit horse owners

Gordon Brown’s decision to raise road tax for the most polluting vehicles will penalise horse owners, according to the Countyside Alliance (CA). Previously, vehicles expelling 226g/km of CO2 (band G) incurred a road tax of £210 per year. But in today’s budget, the Chancellor announced that the tax has risen to £300 a year for 2007-8 and £400 a year for 2008-9.

Of the 250,000 band G sport utility vehicles (SUVS) in the UK that the CA says are used for all-terrain purposes, 60,000 are used on working farms, 18,000 are used in the equestrian industry, 5,000 are used by gamekeepers and 2,500 are used by rural veterinary surgeons. All these groups must now pay the price for needing to drive a band G vehicle.

“There is no area of the equine industry that will not be affected by this staggering increase, which seems particularly misguided as 4x4s were designed with users such as horse owners in mind,” Charlotte Fiander of the Countryside Alliance told HHO. “4x4s were developed for the countryside, not the Kings Road, and are not a lifestyle choice; they are a necessity and the safest option for thousands of horse owners.”

Chief Executive of the CA Simon Hart said: ‘Yet again rural people are at the forefront of the Government’s hasty and ill-conceived economic decisions. The Government has again masked a tax on the British countryside as an environmental tax. All this will achieve is to heap more unfair discrimination and hardship onto already impoverished rural communities.’

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