The Federation of British Historic Vehicle Clubs is putting rolling tax exemption on the General Election agenda by challenging the political parties to change the system to a 30-year rule.
The organisation, which represents more than 500 classic clubs across the UK, said that while it welcomed the Government’s decision to bring in a rolling exemption for cars over the age of 40 last April, it wants to see the threshold changed to 30 years to boost the classic movement. This change would bring the UK in line with other European nations, all of which follow pan-European organisation FIVA in recognising vehicles as being ‘historic’ when 30 years or older.
An FBHVC spokesperson said: ‘Historic vehicles are universally recognised as achieving their status when they become 30 years old. We encourage political parties to support an alignment of the exemption with this age criteria.’
None of the three major political parties were prepared to comment on their pre-election position on rolling tax exemption when approached by Classic Car Weekly, but classic-owning MPs from both Labour and the Conservatives have voiced their support for a 30-year system.
Sir Greg Knight MP, a Conservative MP and chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Historic Vehicles Group, said the decision to reinstate rolling tax last April was a reflection of how highly Chancellor George Osborne regarded the classic movement.
He said: ‘My party has an excellent record on this subject — we originally introduced it in the 1990s, and although Labour froze it when they were in power, we rolled it out again last year.
‘I’d like to see it go to 30 years, and I applaud the FBHVC for aiming for it. It’s an aspiration I support, but I wouldn’t expect the Chancellor to look at it until we know the economy is back on track.’
Kelvin Hopkins, one of the Labour MPs among the group’s membership, said he was also in support of a 30-year rule for rolling tax exemption.
The exemption is an important part of making sure the cars we all love and remember are preserved for future generations,’ he said. It is an acknowledgement of the importance of the classic car industry to the economy as a whole and a recognition of the hard work that individual enthusiasts put into their classic cars.’
Hopkins added that a rolling exemption would act as a promise to owners of future classics that their enthusiasm is justified and will one day be recognised officially. ‘Rolling exemption at 30 years would bring us into line with thinking in Europe and attract younger enthusiasts to the movement,’ he said.
JANUARY 2015// CLASSIC CAR WEEKLY