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Budget reaction on transport: roads fund will marginalise all other transport, say campaigners

8 July 2015

Reacting to the Budget, Campaign for Better Transport welcomed the reform in vehicle duty and proposals for devolving further transport powers, but expressed concern that the new roads fund will lead to all other transport being marginalised and that the Northern Powerhouse is being undermined by the pause in rail investment.

Stephen Joseph, Chief Executive, Campaign for Better Transport said:

"The reforms to vehicle duty are welcome and could help promote greener vehicles, but the creation of a ringfenced "roads fund" will further inflate the Govenrment's bloated road-building plans with big new motorways adding to pollution and congestion while marginalising all other transport. The real needs are to fix local roads and give people real choice in how they travel, not to add to dependence on cars. Investment in rail, bus services, cycling and walking can help motorists by reducing road traffic, and any Roads Fund should be broadened to allow for this too."

On devolution, Stephen Joseph said,

"The commitment to Oyster ticketing in the North is welcome but despite the promises on devolution and the Northern Powerhouse, the pause on rail investment projects across the North means that the Powerhouse risks being unplugged. Passengers deserve fast, high capacity and high quality rail connections between the key cities in the north.

Stephen Joseph continued:

“Our Right Track North campaign is calling on the Chancellor to work with the DfT and Network Rail to set a clear timetable for delivering these essential electrification schemes which will improve journey times and reliability and to get on with some upgrades now.  This will ensure the north of England gets the rail network it deserves.”

For further information please contact:Richard Watkins, Press Officer, at Campaign for Better Transport on 020 7566 6494, 07984 773468 or richard.watkins@bettertransport.org.uk

1. Measures announced in the Budget could represent a significent increase in spending on the Strategic Roads Network. From 2020, Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) will be ringfenced in a new Roads Fund.

The Institute for Fiscal Studies estimates that Treasury income from VED for 2014-15 is likely to be £5.9bn for the UK.

The RAC Foundation estimate that average annual spend on roads by central Government between 2008-2013 was £3.5bn.

2. The Budget Statement also includes some welcome plans such as a £20m second round of the New Stations Fund, an initiative strongly welcomed by the Campaign for Better Transport

3. Campaign for Better Transport’s Right Track North campaign is committed to ensuring the North of England gets the fast, high capacity and high quality rail connections it deserves.

4. Campaign for Better Transport is the UK's leading authority on sustainable transport. We champion transport solutions that improve people's lives and reduce environmental damage. Our campaigns push innovative, practical policies at local and national levels. Campaign for Better Transport Charitable Trust is a registered charity (1101929)