Amazingly, it seems that Britain’s hard-pressed drivers have escaped a tax hammering in today’s Pre-Budget Report.

Darling car Duty on fuel will remain the roughly the same and even the retrospective super-tax on post-2001 ‘gas guzzlers’ has been dropped. Still, I can’t imagine that Mondeo V6 residuals will suddenly firm up overnight.

Truth is, we should look away from parliament if we want to see the future of motoring taxation in the UK.

That will be decided on 11 December, when 1.9m adults in Greater Manchester vote on plan to introduce a big road tolling scheme.

The ballot paper will say:

“Please read the leaflet enclosed with this ballot paper which provides details of the Greater Manchester Transport Innovation Fund proposals.

“These involve both major investment in public transport improvements in Greater Manchester and a weekday, peak-time only, congestion charging scheme.  Congestion charging would only be introduced after 80% of the public transport improvements are in pace and not before the summer of 2013.

“Do you agree with the Transport Innovation Fund Proposals?

Yes, I vote for the proposals

No, I vote against the proposals”

If the vote is yes, road tolls could spread across the metropolitan areas of the UK like wild fire. And any future tinkering by the government will be something of a sideshow. It will be your local councillors that will wield real tax-raising power.