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EDITIONS
Tuesday, 17 March, 1998, 19:41 GMT
Green light for transport
Gordon Brown told the House of Commons that the quality and quantity of public transport had to be improved, and pledged an extra 500 million towards funding it.

But motorists face an increase in petrol pump prices, taking average prices above 3 a gallon.

However, those motorists with small cars which use cleaner fuels will not be hit as hard.

But Mr Brown's environmental moves were criticised by Tony Juniper of Friends of the Earth, who said they were "tokenistic steps". He said there was no action on reducing emission of carbon dioxide, and Friends of the Earth would be asking to meet him soon to discuss it.

Key points on transport and the environment include:

  • 500 million extra for public transport, some probably to go to London Underground
  • 50 million for rural public transport
  • Rebate on fuel paid to bus operators increased to help keep fares down
  • Small, clean cars to get 50 cut in road tax
  • Lorries with clean engines to get cut in road tax, up to 500
  • Unleaded petrol to go up by 4.4p a litre
  • Leaded petrol up by 4.9p a litre
  • Diesel up by 5.5p a litre
  • To curb the amount of waste going to landfill sites,the standard rate on active waste is increased from 7 to 10 per tonne
  • VAT on the installation of energy-saving materials to be cut from 17.5% to 5%

The 3 gallon is here
The 3 gallon is here
Car tax discs

He said that, to encourage lower emissions, the costs of converting company cars to road fuel gases would, from now, be disregarded for income tax purposes.

Mr Brown said: "At the same time I am increasing the scale charges for fuel provided by an employer which will cost the typical company-car user around 1 a week."

Petrol duty

Mr Brown said: "The duty on road fuel gases will be frozen, increasing the incentive to use these cleaner fuels."

The changes were not welcomed by the RAC, which said the average motorist would be about 60 a year worse off.

A spokesman said: "This is a Budget that could lead to motoring being beyond the budget of some drivers. For many people the car is a necessity, yet petrol is taxed as if it was a luxury."

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY

Tony Juniper from Friends of the Earth: "There seems to have been a giant leap backwards" (0'36'')

Brown: "the quality and quantity of public transport must be improved" (3' 04")
Links to more BUDGET NEWS stories are at the foot of the page.


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