Motor tax comeback plan ‘hypocritical’

REINTRODUCING the unpopular motor tax would be hypocritical given the ‘user pays’ policy, a deputy behind the scrapping of the tax just under 10 years ago has said.

Rob Stanford

Deputy Lyndon Trott, who was Treasury minister when the department brought proposals to scrap the tax in favour of fuel duty in 2006, has criticised the current board’s sursis to have it re-examined to plug a £1.6m. funding gap in the transport strategy.

‘I thought I’d seen it all with this government. Wishing to plough ahead with extremely unpopular new taxes is one thing, but now it seems that isn’t sufficient. Why do I say this? Well, an annual motor tax was a really unpopular tax replaced by a user pays principle through a tax on fuel,’ he said.

‘The sensible thing to do is to ensure a complete rethink that focuses on a set of policies that are not hypocritical of the overall objective. What’s happened to the user pays policy?’

Sarnia Car Club member Rob Stanford, pictured, said the motor tax would inevitably turn into just another way to milk the motorist.

‘It doesn’t bode well for people who only use their car a couple of times a month. I have a work van so use my car very little, but I would be subject to paying as much as someone who uses theirs every day,’ he said.

Comments for: "Motor tax comeback plan ‘hypocritical’"


Motor tax is a tax on ownership which penalises those who do fewer miles, whereas fuel tax is a tax on usage, so those who do more miles, and those who drive a larger car, will pay accordingly.

Just increase the fuel tax, it really is that simple!

Charlie G many ways you are correct.How is it then,that dozens of countries live with the " tax disc/sticker system,Sweden,Norway .NZ,etc ,with France now re introducing " la vignette automobile" after it was abolished in 2001.

If my old memory serves me well,years back here we lived with "tax disc", based i believe on weight,smaller lighter the car,the less you paid.We paid a tax on motorcycles scooters and even a cycle tax! and i think we could even tax a motor just for six months.

Now,i still have a good memory,but i can't remember ever meeting anyone years ago here that moaned about the old tax disc system...maybe a few groans about having to fork out the money,but we just accepted it as it was.

To be honest,those on these threads that keep banging on about they have several vehicles,so its gonna cost a fortune to run/tax them,and others banging on about why should they pay, for something thats hardly going to be used....TO BLONEY BAD!!!! GET you think its the systems fault that you may only use a vehicle once a year? Is it the systems fault you've got a multi choice hareme of vehicles registered to you,is it the fault of the system that some choose to have whopping great families,needing a whopping great people carrier...NO IT AINT ! Its YOUR choice,no one else's,STOP THE BLAME GAME. The sun shines on us all..we make the choices we want,WE HAVE TOO MANY CHOICES,its as simple as that.

We can choose to walk or not,bus it or not,cycle it or not,car it or not,run or not,fly or not,boat it or not,ITS UP TO US.

The PLAIN AND SIMPLE THING to all this present malarky, that seems to be striking fear into Islanders lives,is ?WE ARE SPOILT WEVE HAD IT TO GOOD OVER THE YEARS,CHANGE IS HERE !DEAL WITH IT,MOVE ON! We,and no one else,are the cause of the situation we now find ouselves in.. which continues to embroil us.WE,are the architecs of own destruction!

If we insist on selling more and more vehicles on this Island and continue to clog up the roads,then fine,YOU WANT IT,YOU PAY FOR IT,its time to pay back for our indulgences,and accept like grown ups (you supposed to be) the concequences.

We grouse about prices of loads of things,eating out,booze,cigys,cup of tea cup coffee,a sandwich,ferry tickets flight tickets,electric name it ,we grouse !!,but strange aint it,we'll pay out when it suites us.To be straight,i'm the first to moan about dipping me fingers deep in the pocket for extra costs etc...but THATS LIFE!

Personaly i'm sick to the utter back teeth,(and i aint got many left),of reading, hearing, breathing,smelling,about the present so called transport stratergy for Guernsey,with its sucsession of " stand offs".The only result so far being? a Government with no guts or b***s to get the job done,whatever the decision,and a "me me me"population throwing its toys out the pram cos "its not fair".And strong enough proof just why virtualy NOTHING EVER progresses in a straight line for the futur of this rock,and for the betterment of futur generations of Guerns.

... " the problem simply put,is that we cannot choose everything simultaeously,so we live in danger of becoming paralyzed by indecision and excuses ,terrified that every choice might be the wrong choice"

To put it another way..indecisions and delays are the parents of failure!

Island Wide Voting

Charlie G

So basically you are saying that we DO have a traffic problem which requires a multi-million pound fix?

Guernsey Donkey St Sampsons

I totally agree with pyre the user pays.

Charlie G you are as bad as the BLONEY states, why change something that works so well, all the infrastructure is there no need for all the extra cost of collecting road tax, printing discs etc.

As has been suggested just put more on the fuel and they will get their £1.6m, it is not rocket science, just because these other countries still collect it by issuing tax discs, and France is you say changing, why should we follow like lemmings, we are DONKEYS.


I think you will find that those 'vignettes' are usually to pay tolls for specific motorways, bridges and tunnels - none of which we have.

Charlie G

Life is to short to worry about what others think..but thanks for all your feed backs to my long rant....obviously once again misunderstood by most of you who don't, or are incapable of reading between the lines.

YES YES YES.the extra fuel charge is an inteligent solution,why not even a,pay as you drive system,based on number plate recognition...(similar to congestion charge principals),imagine the cost of that set up. Imagine our outrage to that!

I agree the tax disc system costs were enormous,but we did it.

Whatever whatever.....i'm just exalting my total yawnnning at all of this,going around in circles getting know where fast.

And as i said..i don't like the idea of extra costs being milked out if me either,but maybe i'm just an old donkey realist.We can moan, shout, scream,protest,nothing wrong with that,but some of you need to pull your silly heads out the way or the other..WE GONNA PAY!

As there are so many of you with so many inteligent solutions to all the Islands problems...get into a position where you can act on your words!

Yes, i'm saying there is a traffic problem,WE ARE THE TRAFFIC PROBLEM,and i'm as guilty of adding to it ,as the rest of you.And the multi million expenditure needed for a fix? Who's fault is that then?..

Those who insist we don't have a traffic problem,are either stupid,or must be on another planet,or both.

And yet again another rethink,we have"Gollop calls for stratergy rethink"...and next year we'll be reading about it all over again.

Beanjar....with respect, i'm fluent in French,and much of my driving work was connected with France ,Europe and Scandinavia,i can assure you without any doupt,"la vignette automobile" has nothing to do with road or tunnel tolls.

....go to vignetteautomobile however,its in French.

Guernsey Donkey St Sampsons..We don't have to follow others like lemmings..."people that don't travel cannot have a global view,all they see is whats infront of them.Those people cannot accept new things because all they know is where they live".

markB..i'm as angry as the next person regarding our Governments policies and wild spending...but maybe ive grown older and wiser now,through years of watching sucssesive ill thought out policies slowly rusting away the Island i grew up in,and sad as it is...maybe i just don't care anymore..COS NO ONES LISTENING ! so i guess ill just have to take it where the sun don't shine..THATS LIFE !!!


Charlie G- "It's not life" you're more than welcome to lay down and take this governments polices where the sun don't shine, and without any grease, the rest of us won't.

Bill Maguire

Many thanks for posting that comment markB.

My pros would unlikely be as moderate as yours, but the content the same.


Charlie G... If people are moaning so much it could be because they have waited ages and ages for this transport strategy, which kept on being delayed and delayed, for various reasons, only to get two different strategies of which one was chosen as the preferred plan.

However, when one reads through the chosen plan, let's call it for short the Burford Plan, one sees that it is a long-winded rambling document that does not actually identify any serious problems, is short of actual substance and fact, void of any projections for future scenarios, and yet, despite all of that, comes up with loads of absolutely nonsensical ideas, most of which are totally unworkable or unrealistic.

Because of this, the Burford Plan has not been accepted by the vast majority of islanders and so it has been undergoing a metamorphosis in the hope that someday it can work and thus negate the need of the current Environment Board to admit that they have messed up big time and need to scrap completely the Burford Plan.

What problems have been identified in the Burford Plan ? That there are traffic jams at certain times of the day in certain places - are they getting worse ? No. The data supplied provides a very confusing picture ! That carbon emissions are high in a couple of areas for some unexplained reasons. Are they getting worse ? Ah... yet again. No. That there are approximately 3600 public parking spaces in Town and they appear to be near capacity full - but how many private parking spaces exist, has the number of parking spaces increased or decreased, and what will the demand be in the years to come, ( considering that the population growth is pretty stagnant at the moment ) ? Hmmm... Have n't the foggiest. Possibly the most striking conclusion of the Burford Plan was that a lot of people have the perception that there is a problem with wide cars. But what defines a wide car ? Burford seems to think a wide car is over 180cm wide - which happens to be, according to data that I have seen, the average width of a car in the UK.

Now.... I am, at heart, very much a "green" person when it comes to transportation, private car ownership and driving and the environment. But I am arguing very strongly against the Burford Plan because it has been so poorly put together and is so contradictory.

The Burford Plan talks about a totally free bus service, which would only cost an additional £ 0.9 million as that is the annual revenue that is currently being realised from bus fares, but then the same Environment Department allowed the bus operator to jack up the fares ! The Burford Plan envisages a slight drop in the duty on fuel - but that duty has recently been increased ! ( Another contradiction is that a totally free bus service works against the Burford Plan's goal of getting people to walk more as people will hope on the bus for those short journeys ).

As for the duty on fuel - less than ten years ago, Guernsey led the way in scrapping motor tax in favour of higher duty on fuel. Yes, one reason was that it would save in administration costs, but the main concept was the adoption of the policy "user pays" - i.e. it was a fairer means of paying for the upkeep of the roads and that. No system is 100 % fair, but that system is probably the fairest. Having said that, I was shocked to learn, from the data in the Burford Plan, how much that duty has gone up over the years. And for once, even I was becoming sympathetic towards the private motorist.

Now, the Burford Plan wants to reduce emissions - but their proposals against new cars do not do that at all for it does not counter the pollution from older vehicles which tend to be worse offenders than new ones ! And any way, the duty on fuel is already a deterrent against high polluting vehicles as those vehicles already tend to be the ones that use up most fuel !

The Burford Plan wants to deter the use of wide vehicles but provides no statistics as to what proportion of vehicles are wide, let alone clearly defining what wide is. But the Burford Plan only wants to target new wide vehicles, ( and new car registrations are actually falling anyway ), - and this will do nothing to reduce the amount of existing wide vehicles. Better would have been to impose a new wide tax on ALL wide vehicles over say 190 cm or 195 cm and then from say 2016 or 2017 to allow people and businesses to plan for the changes.

I could go on for ages and ages.... electric charging posts in Town, the enforcement officer to target pavement surfers etc ... but enough is enough.... I fully understand why people are moaning.

The problem is that Deputy Burford and her colleagues do not !


I agree, the whole point of the transport strategy was to reduce car usage. A fixed cost does nothing to do that and is purely a revenue generating exercise.

Yes, we had it in the past but then the duty was added to fuel. What has changed? Is it fuel sales have fallen? Just increase the duty if that is the case. Do not introduce another administrative overhead re-introducing the civil servants required to process these bloody tax discs! The States salary and pension bill is big enough as it is!


Yes, they scrapped the old tax disk nonsense because it cost so much to administer they were not ending up with much tax. Have the States got any more efficient than they were in 2006? Quite the opposite in my opinion. Even if they pitched the tax at £300 most would get swallowed up in salaries, premises, recruitment, pensions, relocation packages and all the other bureaucratic rubbish that was chucked out in 2006.

Not often I agree with you Beanjar but that is absolutely spot on!


Actually one argument that the motor tax was scrapped was to save on administrative costs, but the main reason was the adoption of the policy "User Pays".

45000 vehicles in use - ( or 51000 depending on which of Burford's figures one wishes to believe ) - at only an insignificant 50 quid each would make a pretty little £ 2.25 million per year.

Mmmm.... enough to bring tears of joy to the eyes of GsP.

Andy Evans

Just abolish Public sector pensions first then we can talk about perhaps raising fuel prices.


Have to break thousands of contracts to do that.


What are you guys on ???

We don't need any motor tax and we don't any increases in fuel duty. It's high time this Government got its act together and stopped ripping off the Guernseyman to pay for ridiculous policies and idiotic spending. I say Bravo to Lyndon Trott for slamming this proposal - nobody objects to paying their way, but everybody objects to being fleeced. If they want to go back to Motor Tax (God knows why) then fine, but then abolish ALL duty on fuel.

Charlie G - the parents of failure is a failing economy and if you think it's just 'THAT'S LIFE' to introduce policies that will further hit the economy, you're as out of touch as this Government. If you haven't heard, our economy is now in a state of deflation......


Mallski, of course you are correct in theory. But I think most of us are resigned to the fact that this States has no notion of 'cutting its cloth ...', they are totally addicted to spending and we can't do anything to stop them until the next elections. Once you come to terms with that, the question is where the £millions they are peeing away has to come from. All very sad when you consider that this is supposed to be some kind of democracy.



I will never come to terms with the wastage of public money (and I think I'm in the majority on that one).

I think (hope) the penny may have started to drop with the North Beach protest and they have sent La Mare back for further scrutiny......

Let's hope we don't have to wait till 2016 until this Government smells the coffee !!!

Bill Maguire

Well said Mallski.

No increase in taxation until public administration is open to scrutiny

How many more £100k+ administrators posts do they want to create?

ALL public posts & salaries over £60k should be placed in the public domain.

Until that is done the Guernseyman will be subjected to continually increased taxation while having little idea where the .funds are going.


So you want peoples pay to be published? Where else in the civilised world does this happen? The scales are published (as they should be)

Trevor Hockey


I really don't care what happens in the rest of the world, I would just like to know where my taxpayers money is going and to whom. I believe that a lot of our cash is wasted.

Dave Jones often says that government here has lost the trust of the people, we get mis-informed and told lies.

Sometimes vested interests go against what is right and that cannot be moral or ethical.

Trevor Hockey


It's not the £100k+ ones that worry me, it's the £150k+.! I believe that David Cameron is on £140k a year, so what exactly makes our civil servants so much better than him.?


I think some politicians have suddenly realised that elections are not far away, hence Mr. Gollop's sudden change of heart in today's Press.

Bill Maguire

Hi Trevor,

Its the Job Titles that will give us the giggles.

The Job Descriptions will likely split our sides with uncontrolled laughter.

Match that up with Salary & those who struggle to keep a roof over their head & support a family are likely to react with anger.


as i recall the car tax was abolished to save money and cut staff, now the states said there was a drive to get rid of 50 posts i think, but as i recall the posts may have vanished but the staff did not. now to bring back the tax the states have to produce five new staff to replace the staff that supposedly disappeared. i await with wonder for this miracle. the simple way is to put it on fuel but i get the impression that environment is making things awkward for people because their stupid width and emissions tax is in trouble.

Young Guern

CLever way of making money, scrap road tax and add 14p to the fuel duty

several years later bring back road tax (presumeably at an inflation ajested level) and then add back the 14p duty placed in leu but do not inflation adjust it? around 4p,

Not forgetting the extra pennies added in on top due to zero road tax receipts?

They really do think most of us were born yesterday?


There are numerous examples of salaries being published including David Cameron's ! Look on any USA schools website and you will find a complete breakdown of everyone employed and their exact salary. Get off your high horse insider every salary should be published along with an explanation how that salary is justified.

Bill Maguire

Thanks for support Paul.

The Civil Service (senior managers) are taking the Guernseyman for a ride.

I am unaware of any politician (male or female) with the balls to take this one on.


Bill Maguire. Many of these imported Civil servant`s are attracted to this island for reasons of the salary packages that they would NOT be offered in the UK and the minimum housing licence of 5 years benefits very high salaries to overcome if no extension is granted above the minimum stay of eviction.

Would you leave your homeland for a basic salary with no golden package attached to the job?

You need the hundreds of senior officers on £100.000+ to keep the public pension deficit from going deeper into the red and help income tax revenue to increase.

The question is:- how many of these senior officers had no hope of promotions or they were surplus to requirement in their homeland.?

Young Guern


Also i would like to know who set sthese salary bands for the top jobs,

For example the new CIO (Cheif Information Officer) is apparantly on around £145k per year, or so we are lead to believe. He was deemed qualified for the job above all other applicants (and i dont doubt it) BUT the step up from his previous salary is around £55k. A full colonel in the british army, in charge of circa 1,500 men, has a salary band of 75-85K depending on seniority. Thats some jump in pay for doing a lesser ( i would say) job? as a regimental CO he would also act a lawyer, HR officer, Manager, Director etc.

In places i have worked they now ask for previous salary to ditermine pay levels for new job applicants to avoid just this situation?

Or is he just the luckiest man in the world? Oh and he get a nice pension benefit?

Trevor Hockey


I know this guy and his parents and as he is a civil servant he cannot answer for himself. He left the Army and worked here for Long Port Group, so he didn't come straight from an Army salary to the one he has now and at least he is local.

What worries me more is seeing a former Press reporter acting as spokesperson for the Police at a rumoured £60,000 per year. That is a lot more than the guys in the front line if that is true. They must be sickened thinking of what he earns when they are doing their riot training and getting petrol bombs thrown at them.

Young Guern


Yes my family knows him too and as i sadi earlier it is not a personal attack on him as im sure he will do an excellent job, I was using this as a recent example for a new role with a very very high price tag which i dont believe is justified (again not the man the role).

£147k is a massive salary/pay package and i just dont see how a govenrment CIO role is worth it? like i dont understand some of the seriously high salaries in other roles?

My point being (as i commented on another thread) is that spending like this is not controlled closely enough and we the island of Guernsey Tax payers just cant afford to pay for it.

Again on the Radio yesterday Dr Tozier said she had created 2 new senior management roles, this from a department which has blown through its annual budget yet again?

There is no control and its getting out of control!


Young Guern..........exactly! All of the pay scales seem to be aligned with the very highest available in the UK where the responsibilities are much, much higher. The States must take responsibility as they have allowed, over the last 20 years, for the Civil servants to set their own pay packages.


Car tax will come back in, duty on fuel will increase, GST will come in, inheritence tax will come, in all in the next four years. Other taxes will folow. Just as surely as John Gollop will get re-elected.