I propose to take Questions Nos. 538, 544 and 546 together.
I have no function in relation to commercial road vehicle tax in Northern Ireland. Motor tax rates in this jurisdiction are available on my Department’s website at: http://www.environ.ie/en/LocalGovernment/MotorTax/PublicationsDocuments/FileDownLoad,31672,en.doc.
The Irish Road Haulage Association have proposed the introduction of a road charging scheme for heavy goods vehicles (HGVs), along with a change in the basis of motor taxation from unladen to gross design vehicle weight. The proposal in relation to the road charging scheme is a matter for the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport. His Department has established an Inter-Departmental Working Group on this matter which includes representation from, inter alia, my Department.
Any change to the basis of motor taxation for commercial vehicles as requested by the Irish Road Haulage Association, either as a stand-alone change or in conjunction with the introduction of a road charging scheme, would need to take account, inter alia, of the lack of correlation between unladen and gross design vehicle weight, the impacts on other motor tax payers and the impact on income to the Local Government Fund and, consequently, on the provision of local services. Any such change would also require amendments to primary legislation and technical modifications to the National Vehicle and Driver File.
Any consideration of changes to motor tax for HGVs can only place in the context of the outcome of the work of the inter-Departmental Working Group.