Summer Budget (Supplementary) [2]

Session date: 
July 15, 2015
Question By: 
Stephen Knight
Liberal Democrats
Asked Of: 
The Mayor


Stephen Knight AM:  Thank you, Chair.  Mr Mayor, I was going to ask you about the Chancellor’s announcements around the Vehicle Excise Duty.  Given that you have been lobbying for reform to the Vehicle Excise Duty to ensure that it reflects not only carbon emissions but also pollution emissions from vehicles, are you as disappointed as I am that the Chancellor has effectively ignored those calls and missed the opportunity to use the Vehicle Excise Duty regime to encourage cleaner vehicles?

Supplementary To: 


Answer for Summer Budget (Supplementary) [2]

Answer for Summer Budget (Supplementary) [2]

Answered By: 
The Mayor

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  Broadly speaking, obviously, I welcome very much what the Chancellor is trying to do.  Only zero-emission vehicles will pay zero Vehicle Excise Duty.  It is a good step.  It will tackle dieselisation ‑‑

Stephen Knight AM:  Mr Mayor, the Chancellor’s change only looks at carbon emissions, does it not?

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  Could I possibly just finish, if you would allow me?  Where perhaps the policy needs work and needs discussion is in saying that vehicles costing more than £40,000 cannot be exempt even if they are zero-emission capable.  Clearly, this is intended to capture very swish new electric vehicles (EVs) like the Tesla S or whatever so that you do not have the unfairness of rich people, as it were, not paying the Vehicle Excise Duty that falls on poor people.  I can understand that completely.

However, we are, as you know, trying to introduce new zero-emission-capable taxis and they will cost over £40,000.  It is important that we have a proper exemption for them.

Stephen Knight AM:  Mr Mayor, you have missed the point of the question and that is the Chancellor’s new regime inasmuch as it still differentiates between emissions only looks at carbon emissions.  It does not look at NO2 or particulate emissions and that is what you have been lobbying for.  Will you fight to get changes to this regime to help clean up London’s air?

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  Certainly, you are on to something, Stephen.  That is the honest answer.  I broadly welcome what is going on, but we need to make sure that we tackle diesel emissions and that we tackle particulates.  The whole problem was that the British public was invited to buy diesel vehicles without being properly alerted to their polluting impacts.

Stephen Knight AM:  They are still being invited to buy diesel vehicles.

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  We need to go further to encourage people to buy low-polluting vehicles as well as low-carbon-emission vehicles.

Stephen Knight AM:  Thank you.