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The general election is less than one week away and as the build up increases, Trusted Dealers take a look once again at what all of the main parties running in the election are promising motorists if they get into power. Take a look below for our comprehensive guide on the proposed future for motorists.
Over the years, the Conservative Party has been keen to point out that it has invested more into the UK’s road network than any government since the 1970’s. Britain’s roads have received triple the amount of funding previously given for projects to repair, maintain and develop motorways and A roads and to deal with traffic hotspots.
Following the period of bad weather last year, millions of pounds has been made available to councils for potholes and surface repairs, although this was heavily criticised by other parties as being not nearly enough to solve the growing pothole problem. For more information on the current pothole crisis, take a look at our Pothole Data Breakdown.
In addition, since the coalition government came into power in 2010, the four planned fuel duty rises (a legacy left from the Labour Party), have been shelved, making fuel potentially 13p per litre lower than it might have been, saving the typical motorist £7 every time they fill up and helping to create a 5 year low for petrol.
Furthermore, the Conservatives have implemented changes to legislation to tackle the compensation culture that’s causing high insurance premium costs for motorists, although this hasn’t all been good news with a much anticipated policy on young driver safety and insurance premiums being controversially dropped.
The coalition has also scrapped the tax disc, announced that the paper driving licence will be removed and is currently undergoing to digitalisation of the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) as it looks to cut red tape and costs.
The future for motorists
The Conservative government states they will continue to fund the biggest package of road investment since the 1970s, trebling the amount of money available for motorway and major A-road projects and tackling congestion hotspots with their Pinch Point Fund. In addition, the party are working towards ending the stop-start approach to road funding and the introduction of long-term settlements such as the 5 year plans on railways.
Future plans for how the Tories will tackle the still high price of car insurance include cracking down on the those motorists committing fraud. Speaking to online motoring experts, Auto Express, Cameron said: It’s not right that fraudsters think they can cheat the insurance system and get away with it, driving the cost up for people who play by the rules. That’s why we’re cracking down on whiplash fraudsters and introducing independent medical panels so that only evidence from accredited, independent professionals is considered.” The Tories also claim they will continue to reduce the cost of compensation claims by cutting the fees lawyers can make by processing basic, uncontested claims.
Finally, a £6 billion funding injection to English local councils for the pothole crisis was announced in January this year. The money will be spread between 2015 and 2021 to improve the road network after erosion from severe winters and devastating floods. The transport secretary, Patrick McLoughlin, said the money would be enough to fix about 18m potholes.
The Pothole crisis
The Labour Party has addressed the issue of Britain’s roads by suggesting we need a road network put in place that works better for all road users and a long-term strategy to ensure the resilience and improvements for drivers. Labour say they would prioritise funding better in order to fix potholes on local roads and ensure that councils have clear asset management plans in place for their local roads by 2020.
Labour also pledge to provide councils with new tools and power including cheaper joint procurement with other councils and joined up ‘pothole and street works’ plans to stop the same roads being dug up time and time again.
Michael Dugher MP, Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for Transport, said: “Ministers need to take responsibility for the pothole epidemic on our local roads. Cameron slashed spending on road maintenance in 2010 and has ignored local roads for too long. Now over 2,220 miles more of our local roads need maintenance work.
“Motorists are justifiably sick and tired of their cars getting damaged because of potholes. It’s time to fix pothole Britain.”
Labour has previously suggested the insurance industry offers cheaper travel-to-work-only insurance for young drivers – made possible through telematics technology currently known as Black Box Insurance. Labour hopes that cheaper annual premiums for holders of young driver’s car insurance will encourage them to take up job offers or to stay in education and help solve the current unemployment crisis.
John Woodcock, shadow transport minister said, “With over one million young people unemployed, we need to remove as many barriers as possible to finding work,
“The sky-high cost of car insurance for young people is making it impossible for those who need to drive to be able to take up a job opportunity or stay on in education and training.
“Instead of simply pricing young people out of driving, insurance firms could help responsible young drivers by offering a choice of cheaper products that provide insurance at specified time to those who need their cars for work, education or training and are prepared to avoid the situations where more accidents occur.”
Labour has also intimated it is going to put measures in place to ensure young drivers become safer drivers. The party aims to create a supportive environment for young drivers in the UK by improving their experience and equipping them to be good drivers for the future.
Labour is calling on the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to act and start the process of launching an inquiry into petrol pricing on the forecourt. This initial inquiry would judge competition is working and make sure that falls in the price of oil are being passed on to motorists.
Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for Transport, Michael Dugher MP, said: “Hard-up families and hard-pressed businesses are fed up of feeling like they are being fleeced at the pumps. We know that when oil prices go up, fuel prices go up. But when oil prices come down, as in recent months, it is not reflected in the prices people pay at the pumps.
“Britain’s motorists are still paying an average of 118p a litre, even though global oil prices have fallen by more than 40 per cent since July. Organisations have said that petrol should now be at least 7p a litre cheaper than it is.
“Labour is determined to act to ensure real transparency in the industry and we want to see the Competition and Markets Authority start the process of launching an inquiry into the fuel market in the UK.”
Despite being a party in their own right, the Liberal Democrats have formed a coalition party with the Conservative Party for the past 5 years, which means that a lot of their future policy plans will rely upon work done as part of the coalition Government.
Funding for road network projects
It was announced in the budget that £200 million would be made available in 2014/15 to fund a number of road network projects. £168 million will be provided to England alone, which will be shared out using a bid-based fund system. This funding comes in addition to the £728 million the Government has already pledged to provide next year to councils for highway maintenance.
The group is also in support of the introduction of road tolls and other ‘cost neutral’ road pricing measures. Cost neutral road pricing is a current policy the coalition Government has already put in place (although this may change before the next election).
Young driver safety
At present, the Lib Dems are hinting towards their future plans by referencing current coalition policies to improve young driver safety. The Government has already announced a green paper on young drivers designed to target safety measures at the groups of drivers most likely to have accidents, and in turn, reduce the premiums for everyone.
Despite Labour claiming that people are now paying 3p more on every litre of petrol, the coalition government has argued that scrapping Labour’s ‘fuel duty escalator’ has meant fuel is now actually 20p per litre cheaper. With the average fill-up costing £9 less, motorists could be saving as much as £680 by the current parliament.
Following Labour’s claims, a Liberal Democrat spokesperson said: “If this is how Labour do maths it’s no wonder they crashed the economy and forget to talk about the deficit.
“The truth is if we did not axe their plans to increase fuel taxes by inflation, scrap their fuel duty escalator and cut fuel duty ourselves, motorists would now be paying 20p a litre more at the pumps.
“Only Liberal Democrats are building a stronger economy and giving a fair deal for motorists.”
The Liberal Democrats, whilst in a coalition Government, have cut fuel duty by 1p in 2011, scrapped the fuel duty escalator and scrapped the inflation rises. This translates into around £22.5 billion of support for motorists and businesses.
In total by 2015-16, a typical motorist will have saved £680, a small business with a van £1,300 and haulier £21,000 as a result of the action the coalition Government has taken.
UKIP was formed in 1993, with its primary objective to withdraw the UK from the European Union. UKIP currently has 24 of the 74 UK seats in the European Parliament and polled 3.1% of the vote in the 2010 election, despite Nigel Farage surviving a plane crash on the morning of the 2010 polls!
The right-wing party has previously dubbed itself the motorists’ party, and has opposed the work of the current and previous governments on road networks. Take a look at some of its policies below.
Improve the state of roads
Like the other parties, it promises to improve the pothole situation for motorists and the general standard of road maintenance, although Farage has yet to reveal just exactly how he intends to do this. In an interview with Autoexpress, Farage said; “ Years of neglect have led to many roads left in disrepair, yet all the while council tax has increased. UKIP will work to freeze and cut council tax, where possible, and spend every penny on front-line services.”
Cost of fuel
UKIP has made further promises to tackle the high cost of fuel prices. The party empathises with the high costs of fuel duty but has yet to reveal if it would actually reduce these costs if in power. Furthermore, UKIP believes that lower fuel duty is a catalyst to the recovery of the economy and will help generate growth and create jobs.
UKIP is against tolled roads and says it intends to let any existing contracts expire, claiming that road tolls are simply another tax upon motorists. Farage said; “Previous parties have introduced road tolling and done nothing when they’ve promised to abolish them. UKIP has consistently campaigned against road tolls, and will let contracts – where private companies run road tolls – expire.”
Branded as an ‘anti-cycling’ party, UKIP’s official 2010 manifesto had sections relating to cycling which referred to cyclists using language such as, “aggressive abuse of red lights” and lack of road courtesy. UKIP recommend the introduction of liability insurance for cyclists to cover “damage to cars and others” to deter “dangerous cyclist behaviour”, and the party called for local authorities to enforce a “cyclists dismount” or “no cycling” regulation on busy junctions or bus lanes or “where the road would be too narrowed by cycle lanes and cause unacceptable delays to traffic”.
High Speed 2
UKIP plan to scrap High Speed Two (HS2), funded by grant-in-aid from the government, a scheme to develop and promote the UK’s new high speed rail network.
UKIP will ensure that speed cameras are used as a deterrent and not as a revenue raiser for local authorities.
The Scottish National Party (SNP) is a Scottish nationalist and social-democratic political party in Scotland led by Nicola Sturgeon. The SNP supports and campaigns for Scottish independence ans is the third-largest political party by membership in the United Kingdom, behind the Labour Party and the Conservative Party as well as the largest party by far in Scotland itself.
In the SNP’s latest manifesto, the party stated it is working to further improve Scotland’s transport infrastructure and remains focused on fully utilising the current road and rail network.
Nicola Surgeon said: “We must deliver the right infrastructure for economic success, ensuring all parts of Scotland are open for business. Creating this effective and competitive road, rail, sea and air infrastructure led to the creation of the Road Equivalent Tariff pilot in the Western Isles.
“We’d like to see a faster, streamlined transport system in Scotland and we’re working on improving key road networks, including the dualling of the A90, and a new Forth crossing.”
The SNP are campaigning to achieve the following:
• Faster connections between Scottish cities to deliver shorter journey times between Scotland’s cities.
• Completing the Forth Replacement Crossing – an essential project for Scotland’s economy and detrimental in creating thousands of new jobs.
• Addressing the climate challenge by increasing the budgets for low carbon transport and supporting the creation of the infrastructure for electric vehicles whilst continuing to expand the number of ‘park and rides’.
• Improvements for commuters – to make the commute easier for thousands of Scots with faster and more frequent rail services into our major cities and improvements to our road network to remove bottlenecks.
Plaid Cymru is the National party of Wales campaigning for an Independent Wales within the European Union. Formed in 1925, the party won its first seat in 1966. By 2012, Plaid Cymru had 1 of 4 Welsh seats in the European Parliament, 3 of 40 Welsh seats in the Parliament of the United Kingdom, 11 of 60 seats in the National Assembly for Wales.
Plaid Cymru are campaigning to achieve the following:
• Support for the ‘Blue Route’ M4 improvements which are less costly and can be completed faster than the ‘Black Route’ proposed by the Welsh Government.
• Bringing the Severn Bridges into Welsh public ownership, cutting the tolls and re-investing any profits into Welsh transport infrastructure.
• Improvements to the A55, including the construction of a third Menai Bridge.
• Creating a fuel duty regulator to prevent sudden spikes in fuel prices as well as seeking European agreement for fuel price reductions in rural areas, as already introduced in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland.
• The introduction of additional electricity charging points in Wales to encourage the use of electric vehicles.
• Funding for urban cycle paths and between communities, particularly in travel to work areas.
• Ensure that the Welsh Transport Commissioner is based in Wales, unlike at present.
The Green Party of England and Wales, led by Natalie Bennett, aims to create an equitable and sustainable society. The party us wholly democratic with policies developed by ordinary members, not just the leadership.
The Green Party are campaigning to achieve the following:
• For all motorists to abandon their vehicles in favour of reliable and affordable public transport and cleaner streets designed to favour walking and cycling.
• For a transport system that is built on sustainable resources. Petroleum is running out and the SNPwould like to contain what is left of it, in the ground.
• Creating a more reliable and cost-effective public transport system that will help to reduce the public health risks attached to vehicle pollution as well as reduce the death toll from road accidents.
• Against air travel citing long-distance travel as the most energy intensive and polluting forms of travel. The Party wants to take away the subsidies provided to the public for air travel, currently a £16 billion per year subsidy in the UK.
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