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Calls for road tax exception on band G vehicles

Owners of 4x4s who use their vehicles for equestrian purposes are being warned that gaining an exemption from the new rate of vehicle excise duty will not be easy.

In last week’s budget, Chancellor Gordon Brown raised the rate for the most polluting vehicles. Rates for those that fall within band G and expel more than 226g of Co2 per kilometre will increase from the current figure of £210 per annum to £300 from 22 March 2007, and £400 per annum on 1 April 2008.

The hike applies only to vehicles registered after 23 March 2006 and not all 4x4s fall into band G (for further information see H&H, 29 March). But despite this, many H&H readers have greeted the news with dismay (see H&H, 29 March).

The Country Land & Business Association (CLA), the organisation that promotes rural businesses throughout England and Wales, will be examining whether an exemption is feasible for farmers and horse owners when the Finance Bill from last week’s budget is released today (29 March).

But CLA spokesman Richard Jarman told H&H the matter was far from clear-cut.

“The problem is one of definition,” he said. “How strictly do we define what constitutes a farmer or a horse owner? Would it be enough to own a pony or would you need to own several horses? Similarly, it is difficult to prove people are using their vehicles for business purposes 100% of the time.”

A Treasury spokesman told H&H that the tax rise was not designed to attack those who live or work in rural areas, but added that moves to introduce exemptions would be resisted.

He said: “For many, a 4×4 is a necessity. But rural people don’t have to drive a 4×4 that falls within band G — there are other, less polluting options.”

Have your say: Do you agree with the Treasury, or will only a band G vehicle suit your needs? Vote now in our online poll (left).

Read this article in full, including a list of 4×4 vehicles that fall into band G and the views of forum users on this contentious subject, in today’s Horse & Hound (29 March, ’07)

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