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Budget: Campaigners criticise Chancellor's failure to act on fuel tax

16 March 2016

Campaign for Better Transport has responded to today’s Budget announcement. 

The charity welcomed major rail upgrades in the north of England, but criticised the failure to act on fuel tax and highlighted the further cuts to local transport budgets. 

Stephen Joseph, Campaign for Better Transport’s chief executive, said: 

"The Chancellor claims to be 'acting now so we don't pay later' but on transport he's doing precisely the opposite. He has ducked the difficult decision on fuel tax and so done nothing to tackle the toxic pollution which kills tens of thousands each year. He's hammered local transport like buses by cutting an essential source of revenue for local authorities, and he's missed the opportunity to improve health by supporting cycling and walking. This coupled with more spending on big roads like the £6bn trans-Pennine tunnel means we'll be paying for many years to come."

Fuel duty
Stephen Joseph said: 

“The Chancellor’s refusal to raise fuel duty to reflect the true cost of motoring is short sighted. If the Government is really serious about tackling congestion and the UK’s appalling air pollution then it should be doing more to make local public transport a viable alternative to the car.”

Local transport
Stephen Joseph said: 

“The Chancellor has again taken the axe to local transport. By cutting the tax revenues local authorities will receive, vital transport spending on buses and filling pot holes risk being cut. With city devolution deals not yet up and running, this everyday transport will be left operating on a shoestring while millions continues to go an major infrastructure.” 

Investment in the north of England 
Stephen Joseph said: 

“Support for rail in this Budget is great news for the north of England, which will finally start to see the investment needed to rebalance the decades of neglect of its transport network. The Northern Transport Strategy identified that the key to growth in the North is 'efficient and affordable public transport' and today’s announcement of £60 million to develop the HS3 rail link will help achieve this. However, £75 million has also been confirmed for the damaging trans-Pennine road tunnel scheme, which should be buried once and for all. This project would worsen air pollution and road congestion as well as undermine efforts to promote the use of sustainable public transport.”

Proposals for garden suburbs 
Stephen Joseph said: 

“Just promising to build new houses is not enough. They need to be planned around walking and cycling while having good links to public transport. Without this, garden suburbs risk repeating the mistakes of the past, adding to congestion and worsening air pollution whilst locking people into using their cars. Proposals to build communities around rail stations are welcome and demonstrate a better way forward.”