Harrabin Making It Up As He Goes Along
By Paul Homewood
More propaganda from Harrabin.
The Automobile Association (AA) has joined green groups in warning that recent changes in energy policy will harm the climate.
A survey of motorists suggests they will be more likely to buy polluting cars following a Budget change.
Environment groups say in a letter to the prime minister this is one of many recent changes to taxes and incentives that will push up CO2 emissions.
The government said it aimed to keep its promises on cutting CO2.
However, it added that energy policy urgently needed revision.
The AA and the green groups are disturbed by a welter of announcements in past weeks on the environment and energy.
In his Budget, Chancellor George Osborne announced that the nil Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) band for clean petrol cars would be restricted in future to electric vehicles.
This removes a tax break for clean petrol cars and hybrids, which will from 2017 attract the same VED as gas guzzlers.
The AA president Edmund King told BBC News: “If the government is serious about trying to get motorists to drive cleaner greener cars, this is really counter-productive.
“Drivers will not be given the same incentive to go for cleaner (petrol or hybrid) cars so there won’t be the same pressure on manufacturers to produce those cleaner models. We seem to be getting rid of an incentive that worked very well.”
When I saw the headline originally, my first reaction was why on earth are the AA getting involved in this nonsense. It turns out they aren’t.
Reader Black Pearl thought to contact the AA for their views, and received this reply:
"Please rest assured that Edmund King, AA president, has been back to Roger Harrabin at the BBC pointing out that the headline and introduction to his piece didn’t represent the AA view as we only commented on VED and what our members thought of the proposed changes.
We also pointed out that members, such as you, were unhappy with the coverage."
They have also emailed this clarification to me.
The AA has not sided with green groups (that was a BBC headline) but has raised members’ concerns from our latest AA-Populus poll about the new VED system.
We have pointed out that changes to VED in 2017 will remove the option of lower fixed annual motoring costs from a large number of car buyers who choose to buy a low CO2 emission vehicle. The AA believes incentives are better than sanctions and that the scheme has been very popular but the government has now decided it wants to reverse declining tax revenues.
In other words, the AA have taken absolutely no stance at all on the government’s green policies. Their sole concern, perfectly naturally, is that some drivers will end up paying more car tax.
As the AA president has now been back to Harrabin, I wonder whether he will be issuing an apology?