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Number Of Cars Declines For The First Time Since Second World War

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The recession, the Government's "cash for bangers" scrappage scheme and stricter enforcement of laws against unroadworthy vehicles has led to the decline, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders.

There were 31,035,791 cars on British roads at the end of last year, a drop of 0.7 per cent compared with 12 months previously, said the SMMT.

The figures, based on registration data from the Driver Vehicle and Licensing Agency, were the latest evidence of the impact the recession has had on car owners and household spending.

The Government's scrappage scheme, which allowed drivers who traded in a 10-year-old car received a £2,000 subsidy towards a new one, was a major reason for the drop.

Industry experts believe that thousands of the cars which went to the scrapyard under the programme would otherwise have been sold on the used car market and remained on the road.

Experts believe the decline could continue this year. In recent weeks there has been fresh evidence of a decline in motoring as pump prices approach record levels.

A survey by the AA this week showed that nearly half of the country's drivers were using their car less.

Six million existing car owners will also see the cost of their road tax rise by more than double the rate of inflation, following the introduction of new emission bands.

In addition the car industry is facing a tougher year having both lost the support it enjoyed from the scrappage scheme and the introduction of a new showroom "green" tax, penalising the most "environmentally unfriendly" cars.

"We have had the deepest recession since the war and incomes stopped growing for the first time in a very long time," said Garel Rhys, Emeritus Professor at Cardiff Business School and one of Britain's leading experts on the motor industry.

"In addition, because of the scrappage scheme, cars which would have remained in the market were taken out of circulation. In some cases these cars would have been sold through small ads. Instead 400,000 have disappeared."

The figures came at the end of a year in which the cost of motoring insurance rose and the Government reacted to falling oil prices by introducing a series of fuel duty increases.

Taking into account a duty rise in December 2008, the average driver saw the tax bill for filling a tank rise by just under £3 in just over 12 months.

The increases were opposed by The Daily Telegraph which ran a Fair Deal for Drivers campaign at a time when families were struggling with the impact of the global credit crisis.

Meanwhile David Bailey, Professor of International Business Strategy at Coventry University, cited changes in family spending as a factor in the fall in the number of cars on the road in 2009.

"I think we are seeing a shift in consumer habits with people thinking about the kind of car they have and families about how many vehicles they need," he said.

The RAC Foundation's director, Stephen Glaister, expressed surprise at the figures.

“This is likely to be a blip rather than the start of a trend. The population is forecast to rocket by ten million in the next couple of decades and these people will need to get about," he said.

"We know people are driving less on an individual basis, and lifestyle changes might mean more people working from home in the future, but with nine out of ten passenger journeys already being made on the roads population growth – and economic recovery – will almost inevitably mean more cars.

"The challenge is to make these vehicles greener, and with average new car CO2 emissions steadily falling that challenge is already being met.”

Paul Everitt, the SMMT's chief executive, believed the economy was the key reason for the decline.

“The recession is the most obvious factor impacting on the number of cars on the road,” he said.

“The Scrappage Incentive Scheme has also removed a large number of older and more polluting vehicles. Alongside these economic factors, tough enforcement has helped remove unlicensed vehicles from UK roads.”

Hmm, how does this correlate to the number of baby boomers, or with the health of the real UK economy (outside of financial services)?

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I can cut through Southampton marginally quicker than 5 years ago that's for sure.

Also, finding parking spaces not such an issue.

In the mind? Well driving does feel less stressful.

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Really? It seems to me that there's more knobs on the road than ever!

Yep, not sure if I've been imagining it but I've felt there's been a lot more careless driving over the last year or so - get the impression people's mind's are elsewhere.

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people less travel now a days and try to move to places they work..

or could use public txn..

but that's an indication of four wheelers reaching their plateau?

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Well, I'm playing my part. I've never owned a car in this country and haven't had one since I was last living in the US in the 90s. Doesn't mean I don't reminisce about a gallon of gas costing less than a dollar and driving a car from the 70s that got about 8 miles to that gallon.

1972-Chevrolet-Camaro-Z28.jpg

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The Government's scrappage scheme, which allowed drivers who traded in a 10-year-old car received a £2,000 subsidy towards a new one, was a major reason for the drop.

Industry experts believe that thousands of the cars which went to the scrapyard under the programme would otherwise have been sold on the used car market and remained on the road.

Yep that'll be Labour keeping the poor off the road. Kept them out of higher education as well. And work. Labour have done a lot for the poor.

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  • 259 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

    1. 1. Including the effects Brexit, where do you think average UK house prices will be relative to now in June 2020?


      • down 5% +
      • down 2.5%
      • Even
      • up 2.5%
      • up 5%



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