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Family association criticises government over proposed kilometre tax

Illustration picture shows traffic jam near the Leopold II road tunnel, in Brussels. (BELGA PHOTO THIERRY ROGE)
07:50 14/09/2021

The proposed Smart Move kilometre charge championed by the Brussels government will have negative consequences for families who are forced to use a car, according to the Ligue des Familles, the Belgian association that supports parents. 

The controversial tax, which has been criticised by both Flanders and Wallonia, would tax drivers a fixed toll per car, supplemented by an additional charge per kilometre.

In a statement issued on Monday, the Ligue des Familles said that none of the examples presented by Brussels minister-president Rudi Vervoort’s team to measure the impact of the proposed kilometre charge refer to any situations in which the parent has to take his or her children to school by car.

Based on a study of about 20 situations with different family compositions, the Ligue des Familles estimates that the cost of this tax for families - who are not able to travel by any means other than the car - will increase from €200 to €2,500.

The association gives the example of a single mother who only finishes working at 17.30 and is unable to get her daughter out of school without a car before the day care closes at 18.00.

Another example put forward by the association is that of divorced parents where the father lives in Brussels and the mother near Charleroi. For the mother it would be necessary to take the children to the school in Brussels by car. By public transport, she would need six hours a day for the entire journey.

"In the case of these families, the kilometre charge will not achieve its goal, a change in behaviour, and will only lead to their impoverishment," concluded the Ligue des Familles.


Written by Nick Amies