The soothe and smoky MRB agreement

22042012 – 03By: Erik van Putten

Recently State Secretary Weekers and the old-timer alliance - after six months of bargaining - suddenly reached the MRB agreement. The age limit for duty-free petrol cars rises to 40 years. Petrol cars older than 26 years are eligible for a quarterly rate (maximum 120 euros). Then December, January and February are not allowed on the road in the winter months. Another important decision is that Diesels and LPG cars that are younger than 40 years are fully taxed. Without additional arrangement.

Great common denominator
It is a cutback measure that arose thanks to a major common denominator: the environmental section.
It was gratefully used by the State Secretary. The term "sooty and smoky German-made Diesel" was the winged term that the environmental paragraph had to reinforce. That was a little too easy. All those so-called environmental polluters simply drive legitimately and - after approval by the RDW and MOT inspectors - on Dutch roads. And meet the legal environmental requirements. The State Secretary does not care.

Old-timer alliance partially achieves success
To the dismay of the old-timer alliance, The Hague insisted on the austerity measure. Bert Pronk's FEHAC, in particular, stood out and fought for preservation of the existing MRB scheme. The KNAC organized a petition campaign. The other alliance partners - BOVAG, RAI Association, ANWB and FOCWA were less active. The BOVAG in particular turned out to be inconsistent. In 2011, this organization argued against the abolition of the MRB exemption. In that respect, the FEHAC and the KNAC struggled passionately for the preservation of the cultural heritage. They adorned them, but they focused too emphatically on the vintage car exemption. And with that they actually gave Weekers free rein to tackle the young-timer industry.

Homework for the State Secretary
Because Weekers suddenly saddles the dieseling and gassing young timer owner with high costs. For the 'German Diesel owner', a full year of driving means that he or she will later pay the full MRB rate. In other words: it is suddenly saddled with a tax item of € 2.000 per year. This discourages the use of a Mercedes 250D, for example. And that is the prelude to the intentions of Weekers. He wants a cleaner fleet in the Netherlands. But the State Secretary has to do his homework again. In comparison with all young timers for daily use, clean or cheaper cars are not a jackpot. They bring less MRB and excise duty into the Staatslaatje. In that scenario, the planned cutback of € 133 million is emphatically on the way.

Death for the youngtimer industry
This measure ensures in any case a complete erosion of the young-timer market. Weekers chokes on this too. He will soon miss out on a lot of income from passionate entrepreneurs who are forced to close their tents. Furthermore, The Hague will have to reserve extra money for benefits. Many employees within and related to the industry lose their jobs in an economically bad time. Because the scheme that has been thwarted through The Hague is the death knell for a large part of the until recently flourishing and crisis-resistant young-timer industry.

Empty sleeve
The chord is an empty shell that came into existence sooty and smoky. Six months of negotiation resulted in a cut and paste solution. It is unacceptable that - without transitional law - a large part of the current regulation is simply thrown overboard. As a result, probably only the large young-timer entrepreneurs survive.

The right solution
So there is only one correct solution: The State Secretary puts on the fine and maintains the old regulation. Because only that measure delivers more to The Hague than the cutbacks budgeted by Weekers: money and renewed confidence.


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