Transport sector reacts to Labour Party manifesto

Following the launch of the Labour manifesto, RAC head of policy Simon Williams said: “It’s pleasing to see major concerns for drivers, such as local road maintenance and the transition to electric vehicles, high on the list of Labour’s priorities if they win power. However, there is an important issue which is notably absent.

“The previous Government promised £8.3bn of reallocated HS2 funding to resurface 5,000 miles of local roads. With no mention of reinstating HS2, it’s not apparent whether Labour would honour this spending commitment to tackle the nation’s pothole problem. If that proportion of budget – which would only resurface 3% of all council-run roads in England – is no longer dedicated to road maintenance, the proposed £320m from the A27 bypass would not even be a drop in the ocean.

“The promise to restore 2030 as the phase-out deadline for new petrol and diesel vehicles comes as no surprise. Arguably it’s the Zero Emission Vehicle Mandate that’s already in place which is more important, as it’s forcing manufacturers to sell an increasing proportion of electric vehicles over the next few years and should, in itself, help drive uptake.

“However, it remains the case that electric vehicles are still far too expensive for a majority of drivers. The next Government has a great opportunity to stimulate demand by reintroducing a plug-in car grant aimed at the cheaper end of the market. This would make zero-emission driving a possibility for far more people.”

Responding to the Labour Party manifesto, Graham Vidler, CEO at the Confederation of Passenger Transport (CPT) says, “We welcome Labour’s manifesto commitment to a long-term transport strategy and – as set out in CPT’s own manifesto, Driving Britain Forward – this commitment must be matched with a five-year long-term spending programme, as happens for rail. Nothing less will ensure local authorities and operators can maximise investment in buses, drive a swift and smooth transition to a zero emissions fleet, and deliver what passengers want: more bus services going to more places that are also more reliable and quicker.  

“In the short term, the industry needs urgent clarity on the future of the English £2 fare cap which ends on 31 December 2024. It is disappointing that the Labour manifesto is silent on this because passengers could continue to benefit from industry and government working together to keep fares low, particularly if investment is targeted on key passenger groups, such as under 22-year-olds.” 

CPT welcomes Labour’s pledge to fund ten-year budgets for R&D institutions. It also looks forward to working with local transport and planning authorities to ensure space for bus and coach is given clear priority in local growth plans and road network renewal – to curb congestion and to help promote these popular public transport options as attractive and sustainable travel choices.

Max Sugarman, Chief Executive of Intelligent Transport Systems UK (ITS UK), responding to Labour’s Manifesto, said: “It is good to see the Labour Party committing to provide Mayors with more powers to create integrated local transport systems and promote active travel networks. The Manifesto gives positive mentions to road safety, speeding up infrastructure delivery and backing for research and development, all of which will support a more effective transport network.

“We will continue to urge the next Government, whoever forms it, to continue supporting the roll out of transport technology and innovation. Our Manifesto for the Future of Transport sets out how new technology can support the UK’s economic, environmental and safety targets, whilst providing a more effective, seamless experience for all transport users.”


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