Plans to introduce road pricing have been shelved amid fears the idea could kill off demand for electric vehicles.
Boris Johnson will publish the Government’s Net Zero strategy next week – which will include plans to shift away from petrol and diesel cars over the next decade.
The Treasury has been examining proposals for the introduction of road pricing to replace the £30billion in lost fuel duty that will result from a move to electric vehicles. But Whitehall sources told the Daily Mail that the idea has been dropped.
‘Road pricing is not happening,’ said one source. ‘There is an issue around revenues that will have to be addressed in the future. But there are no active discussions around it at the moment.’
Officials fear charging drivers by the mile would act as a major disincentive to people considering buying an electric vehicle.
The Prime Minister is also said to be concerned the Government would face a public backlash if it introduced road charging. Number 10 has also vetoed plans for a comprehensive carbon tax because of concerns voters would resist higher prices for everyday items like meat.
Some ministers fear the prime minister’s reluctance to grasp the nettle of higher costs will undermine the Government’s ability to deliver on its commitments to cut carbon emissions to zero by 2050.
One senior minister said: ‘We have set ourselves some eye-watering commitments but we have had virtually no discussion with the public about the costs of achieving them. That does not amount to a strategy.’
Research yesterday by the Social Market Foundation think-tank suggested public attitudes towards road pricing might be shifting.
Polling of 3,000 people found 38 per cent now support using pricing as a replacement to existing road and fuel duties – while only 26 per cent said they were opposed and 36 do not have a view either way.
Focus group work conducted suggest support was driven by a ‘strong public perception that the current tax system is unfair’.Internet Explorer Channel Network