New plans to tax drivers by the mile have been proposed in the United Kingdom. The Centre for Policy Studies (CPS), which was founded by former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, has produced a report saying the country’s current taxation system needs an overhaul and should be replaced by a pay-per-mile scheme that would reward drivers of electric vehicles (EVs).
The report’s co-author Dillon Smith said the recommendations will lead to “fairer, better, and more efficient taxation while tackling congestion and improving air quality in our big cities.”
The UK is one of Europe’s more heavily traffic-regulated countries, and recent proposals have prompted a public backlash.
In London, Mayor Sadiq Khan is pushing ahead with plans to extend the city’s Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ). Drivers inside this zone, which covers much of Europe’s largest city, must pay around $15 per day to access ULEZ roads. Five local councils have filed a lawsuit against the Mayor and are preparing to challenge the unpopular policy in court. A spokesman for the Conservative Party on London’s governing assembly said, “The high court has now ruled there is sufficient evidence that Sadiq Khan’s Ulez decision may have been unlawful.”
In February, there was also a significant public backlash to plans to charge motorists for using certain streets at specified times. Local people objected when officials in the famous city of Oxford announced a Low Traffic Neighborhoods scheme.
The scheme involves placing cameras in busy traffic-flow areas of the city. These will record cars that pass through and issue fines to drivers who do not have local council authorization. Essentially, drivers can only use specified streets at specified times or face a penalty. Protestors say they are no longer free to come and go as they please, and many said they were cut off from friends and family. Taxi firms also reported losing customers and suffering significant income cuts.
Many people believe the Oxford plans signal an ever-growing authoritarianism and control by government officials.