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Diesel 'demonisation' threatens livelihoods of small businesses

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Josh Hall

Josh Hall

27 April 2017

Small businesses and sole traders could have their livelihoods threatened by plans to ‘demonise diesel’.

This is according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), who warned that the economy could “grind to a halt” in the event that diesel vehicles are eventually banned from the roads.

‘Toxin tax’ could poison sole trades

The group said that tradespeople would bear the brunt of the changes, which would also impact on warehousing, deliveries, production lines, and even the emergency services.

The SMMT estimates that 1.8 million sole traders rely on vans to keep their businesses running.

Despite this, last month the government announced a new ‘toxin tax’ on diesel vehicles. Aimed at cleaning up air pollution in seven cities, the tax could see diesel vehicles taxed up to an extra £20 per day, or banned from the roads during peak hours.

Government shelves plans until after June election

The plans have reportedly been shelved until after the election in a bid to secure Conservative votes, but there is widespread concern that they will be picked up again afterwards.

Previous governments have encouraged the purchase of diesel vehicles as part of an effort to combat CO2 emissions. But the current government, along with city mayors and local authorities, are now going after diesel drivers in what some see as a simple cash grab.

Economy could “grind to a halt”

Speaking to the Mail, Denis Chick of commercial vehicles manufacturer Vauxhall, said: “If diesel is driven off the road then the whole economy will grind to a halt.

According to Chick, we could suddenly find the shelves at Sainsbury’s and all the other supermarkets are empty as there’ll be no one to make the delivery.

“Vehicles are easy targets because they’re easy to tax. It’s all about raising revenue. But there is no alternative to a diesel engine right now.”

Do you think diesel drivers are being unfairly targeted? Let us know in the comments.

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