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HM Revenue and Customs

Part of Supplementary Estimates 2009-10 — Department of Health – in the House of Commons at 5:16 pm on 10th March 2010.

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Photo of Norman Baker Norman Baker Shadow Secretary of State for Transport 5:16 pm, 10th March 2010

That would indeed be possible. The parameters of the road-pricing scheme are interesting. I attended a conference on intelligent transport systems this morning, at which some of the things that could be achieved by such a scheme were discussed. One of the beauties of the new technology being introduced is that it enables Governments to make more sophisticated policy choices than hitherto. The option that the right hon. Gentleman describes is certainly one of them.

I believe that there is a case for introducing a road pricing scheme that charges for the use of motorways and dual carriageways only, and that charges should vary according to emissions-it could also vary by time of day, for the reasons that the right hon. Gentleman gave. It is very important that such a scheme is revenue-neutral for the average motorist. If the scheme is seen as a stealth tax, it will be rejected, just as we saw happen in relation to the petition on the No. 10 website. As the hon. Member for Liverpool, Riverside said, that was a misleading petition, but if the scheme were revenue-neutral, it might not be rejected.