Pigs won't fly with this Budget
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THE RAC brings the day of the flying pig no nearer with its recent call for "a fully thoughtout, long-term policy for all fuel taxes." Nigel Lawson, the radical Chancellor of the Exchequer, has merely followed the traditional Treasury maxim: When in doubt, kick the cat. If that is a policy, thought-out or not, I am a monkey's aunt.
In limiting the increase in dery tax to 31/2p, compared with 4p on petrol, he knocked British industry's efforts to become more competitive in response to the Government's frequent exhortations. A rise of 201/2p in the average price of a gallon of dery in less than three months makes it impossible to forecast distribution costs.
With lorries already contributing £506m more than their road costs assessed by the Government in 1984-85, the Chancellor has now raised the surplus to £630m. A 29 per cent increase in the vehicle excise duty on a 24-tonne three-axle rigid is highway robbery. For the transport operator the Budget is, as usual, a passport to nowhere except, perhaps, Carey Street.