Europe’s biggest trailer maker has launched a campaign to reverse plans for a huge hike in vehicle excise duty on all 4×4 vehicles.

Iorwerth Roberts, head of sales at Ifor Williams Trailers, based near Corwen in north east Wales, said customers were outraged about moves that could mean paying £900 a year in increased tax on a towing vehicle like a Land Rover.

An across-the-board rise for all 4x4s would severely penalise rural businesses. It would also be counter-productive as farmers could end up buying a lorry or van for work purposes and a car for private and family journeys.

The campaign has been backed by Merionydd Nant Clwyd MP Elfyn Llwyd, who demanded that essential users are exempted from the tax.

“The whole thing is a nonsense because the Chancellor is actually targeting the people driving around Chelsea and Knightsbridge in their 4x4s,” Mr Llwyd said.

“I see them every day with just one or two people travelling in them, yet there is no need at all as they have a choice of three different types of public transport. But in the country they are essential.

“The Government will have to look again because this tax is crazy and we will continue to put the pressure on until it changes its mind. What gets me is the insensitivity of the decision because ministers do not appear to understand that living in the countryside is more expensive than living in the city.”