* Who says what about Budget * Lobbyists & pressure groups react * Tell us what you think...
Damned if he does, damned if he doesn't... Chancellor Alistair Darling's first Budget has polarised opinion from motorists, lobbyists and environmentalists.
Here we get reaction from those with vested interests. While on the following page, whatcar.com readers give their verdict.
'There are more effective ways to influence the buying habits of motorists than the 'blunt instrument; approach of a road tax increase.
'Instead of punishing motorists for choosing what is available, the Government needs to do more to assist vehicle manufacturers to develop cleaner vehicles. Consumers need to be given a proper choice, and manufacturers and vehicle dealers need to be able to give it to them.'
Retail Motor Industry Federation
'The Chancellor has made a sensible choice by postponing the fuel duty increase scheduled for 1 April to the autumn. The high oil price made it inevitable, but this does not make the rescheduled rise in October any more justifiable. By implication, motorists will have to endure tax increases of around 4.7 pence per litre, covering the Excise Duty plus VAT in just six months, as announced measures in two Budgets are applied.
'A revision of all taxes associated with all forms of road transport seems to have been promised in the Budget. We welcome this and will encourage the Treasury to make sure that appropriate consideration is given to all the relevant factors.
'Motorists will also have noticed a return to real increases in fuel tax from 2010. When last used, this measure led to 2000s fuel protests. Lets hope our new Chancellor reconsiders this policy in his overall review of road taxes.'
Petrol Retailers Association
'Reforms to Vehicle Excise Duty to encourage people to buy more efficient cars are all very well, but no substitute for demand management. Mr Darling should have had the courage to raise fuel duty now, with revenues going to improve public transport. Reduced car use would be good for climate change, and would reduce pressure for new road-building that damages our countryside.'
Campaign to Protect Rural England
'The delay in the increase in fuel duty is a disaster and a broken promise that shows little regard for climate change or for alternatives to the car. A truly green budget would have taken the extra duty and invested it in better transport, especially local public transport.
However, we welcome the extra taxes on gas-guzzler cars, incentives for lower carbon vehicles and the extra aviation taxes. It is a pity that the failure of courage on fuel duty and the imagination to link it to spending on alternatives will undermine these and other green measures in the budget.'
Campaign for Better Transport
'There is no environmental case for higher taxes. Based on the Government's own figures in the Stern Review, the full cost of the greenhouse gases produced by road transport amounts to no more than 14p per litre. Road users are the only energy users paying the full cost of their carbon emissions; unlike rail or air travellers.
'Graduated VED has helped consumers choose the most efficient car to meet their needs. As long as new bands inform and do not confuse the customer they will be welcome. The impact of new bands on buying behaviour should be carefully monitored and the thresholds adjusted if necessary.'
'Motorists will be relieved that the '2p or not 2p' budget is 'not 2p', although record pump prices leave little to cheer. If fuel prices remain at records levels in the autumn the increase should be scrapped.
'The increase in vehicle excise duty to 400 for Band G vehicles will also catch out many motorists. Drivers want cleaner, greener cars but we must ensure that the proposals in the King Review are not just a green smokescreen for allowing the Treasury or local authorities to take more cash from the motorists.
'The AA supports the faster introduction of greener, cleaner vehicles and will study the Julia King proposals on low carbon cars with interest but we are concerned over the confusion on environmental policy with different local authorities doing their own thing.'
'Since the introduction of CO2-based road tax in 2001, there has been a clear trend towards lower-CO2 new cars. Encouraging even more buyers to choose models with class-leading emissions should be the priority. We are therefore pleased to see an increase in the number of bands to 13 from 2009.
'However, introducing what is effectively a sales tax for many new cars is a retrograde step. Trying to force people out of high-value cars has no environmental merit and will be seen as a smokescreen for revenue-raising.'
Society of Motor Manufacturers & Traders
'Suspending the promised increase in fuel duty has fatally undermined his boast that this is a green budget, and tinkering with tax on planes and cars isn't going to reduce emissions when he's also promising new runways and roads.'