Industry reacts to Conservative Party manifesto

The transport sector has responded to the Conservative Party’s General Election manifesto.

RAC head of policy Simon Williams said: “While it’s positive that the Tories have pledged to roll out the Pumpwatch scheme and launch a National Parking Platform, it’s disappointing that there is no mention of road casualty reduction targets or a commitment to give councils long-term certainty of funding for local roads.

“We continue to believe the road casualty reduction targets – which were abandoned 14 years ago – should be reinstated, especially as pedestrian fatalities hit their highest rate since the pandemic this year.

“Although the previously announced £8.3bn of reallocated HS2 funding for resurfacing 5,000 miles of local roads is welcome, it’s important to realise this only represents 3% of all council-run roads in England. Spread over an 11-year timeframe, that funding sadly doesn’t scratch the surface of country’s pothole problem. We would have liked to see a commitment to ringfencing some general taxation to pay for local road maintenance, which would give councils the ability to plan long-term programmes to bring their roads back up to a fit-for-purpose state.

“We were also surprised that pay-per-mile road pricing would be ruled out so definitively. With fuel duty revenue already declining and set to fall even further as more electric vehicles come on to the road, a replacement form of taxation will have to be introduced to avoid losing billions. Any further drop in tax revenue could ultimately result in our local roads crumbling into an even worse condition.

“It is, however, good news to see a pledge to get the Pumpwatch fuel price transparency scheme, which received Royal Assent shortly before the election was called, up and running. This, alongside an official price monitoring body, will hopefully give drivers fairer deals on the UK’s 8,300-plus forecourts.”

Max Sugarman, Chief Executive of Intelligent Transport Systems UK (ITS UK), said: “We welcome that the Conservative Party’s Manifesto highlights the vital role of transport technology for the UK, with commitments to roll out pay-as-you-go contactless ticketing, deliver the National Parking Platform, and recognising the continuing need to improve safety across the road network.

“As our Manifesto for the Future of Transport sets out, however, the UK does need to have an open discussion around how we tackle the £35 billion hole in government revenue from falling road taxes. As our Manifesto highlights, shifting to mobility pricing, delivered in an equitable, fair and clear way, would not only help ensure the Exchequer continues to secure this vital revenue – which goes to pay for a number of public services beyond transport – but could be used to reduce emissions and support achieving our Net Zero targets too.”

Graham Vidler, CEO at the Confederation of Passenger Transport said today: “It is good to see the Conservative Party recognising the importance of buses by committing to continue fully funded support for bus fares, if they win the next Election.

“But while they reaffirm a commitment to support bus services across the north and midlands – with funding reallocated from HS2 – today’s manifesto announcement is a missed opportunity to demonstrate a commitment to grow services across the entire country.

“Every day, millions of people require frequent, fast, reliable buses to get to work, school, and access essential services. Communities in the South are at risk of being left behind without matched investment. This should not be a postcode lottery.”

Highways News will publish industry reactions to the other parties’ manifestos as and when we receive them.


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