CO2 emissions figures etc

Part of Finance (No. 2) Bill – in a Public Bill Committee am 3:45 pm ar 16 Ionawr 2018.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Mel Stride Mel Stride Financial Secretary to the Treasury and Paymaster General 3:45, 16 Ionawr 2018

Clause 48 confirms that for vehicle excise duty and company car tax purposes, the data for a car’s CO2 emissions will continue to be based on the new European driving cycle, or NEDC. As the hon. Gentleman says, NEDC, which is the current testing methodology for producing definitive car emissions values, is being replaced by a new lab test, known as the worldwide harmonised light vehicles test procedure, or WLTP, which is designed to be more representative of normal driving behaviour. For example, it contains more accelerating/decelerating and includes variable-speed driving. At the autumn Budget, it was announced that the Government will transition the tax system to using these improved readings from April 2020. The announcement was made now to give notice to drivers and the industry.

The Government will discuss with the industry next year whether the current CO2 band thresholds in VED and CCT are appropriate. In the interim, this clause clarifies that vehicle taxes will continue to use NEDC values until April 2020. The hon. Member for Bootle asked why we could not use the real-world driving emissions test in the interim. It is used as a complement to lab tests, to check whether cars produce similar emission values on the road as in the laboratory. We could not use the RDE as the primary basis for saving tax bands, because that is not how these tests work; they would not allow us to compare two cars on a like-for-like basis. The changes made by the clause will ensure that drivers’ tax rates are unaffected for vehicle excise duty, company car tax and fuel benefit charges.

Let me turn to amendment 61, which proposes that the Chancellor review the appropriateness of the NEDC regime prior to the clause commencing, and the effects of the change to the WLTP on the Government’s targets for reducing carbon dioxide emissions and on revenue.

I appreciate that Opposition Members want to ensure that the Government continually review the appropriateness of their policies for reducing carbon emissions. However, delaying the commencement of the clause to review the appropriateness of NEDC would be inappropriate, as it would mean that the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency and HMRC would not have clarity about which emissions figures they should use to set tax rates for vehicles. For clarity, I reiterate that NEDC is the established methodology for calculating CO2 values.

Clause 48 is designed to clarify the law. Since September, manufacturers seeking type approvals for new cars have been required to show two different CO2 readings for their vehicles—one produced under the new WLTP test and another consistent with the current NEDC test. We cannot use both numbers for tax purposes. Therefore, to avoid confusion, the clause makes it clear that the DVLA and HMRC will continue to assign tax bands using the current NEDC procedure.

The Government will transition the tax system to the new WLTP test from April 2020. That transition period gives the Government time to consider, in consultation with industry, what the effects of the new system will be and whether the band thresholds remain appropriate in the context of recorded WLTP results. We are actively discussing that topic with industry, and we will announce our decisions at the Budget in the usual way. On that basis, I believe that the amendment is unnecessary, and I ask the hon. Member for Bootle to withdraw it.