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Campaigners respond to Autumn Statement

3 December 2014
Campaign for Better Transport has responded to the Autumn Statement made by the Chancellor of the Exchequer.

On overall assessment:

James MacColl, Head of Campaigns, Campaign for Better Transport said: "Road and rail both featured prominently in the Chancellor's Statement, reflecting how important transport is in re-balancing the economy and making life easier and fairer for millions of people ahead of the General Election. Despite some very positive announcements on rail, the Autumn Statement must still be regarded as missed opportunity. The Government's fetish for ever more roads comes at the expense of both the environment and more effective and better value public transport alternatives."

On roads:

James MacColl, Head of Campaigns, Campaign for Better Transport said: "We are very concerned by the decision to waste another £15bn building traffic-generating roads, with a total of £30 billion now committed to these counterproductive schemes. That the Chancellor has announced roadbuilding in protected areas including the Peak District and South Downs shows he is willing to sacrifice our most treasured landscapes to yet more lanes of traffic."

On rail:

James MacColl, Head of Campaigns, Campaign for Better Transport said: "We welcome the bold support for rail upgrades between major cities, particularly in northern and eastern England. If fares are made more affordable, this will benefit communities and businesses, giving many more people real choice in how they get around.The Government must back up its commitment to the Northern Powerhouse by ensuring the forthcoming Invitations to Tender for the Northern Rail and TransPennine Express franchises, due to be be published imminently, set out requirements for major investment in the networks across the region.

"Rail users in cities from Liverpool and Manchester to Newcastle and Hull will be delighted to hear the Chancellor's committment to finally consigning the Pacers to the siding of history. We await the details of when this will happen.

"For the second year in a row, rail passengers will get a partial respite with fares rising only by RPI inflation. Although welcome, that isn't enough for most people as ticket prices are still rising four times faster than wages. We will continue to campaign for fares to be calculated using the more accurate and lower CPI inflation, as pensions are. "

On buses:

James MacColl, Head of Campaigns, Campaign for Better Transport said: "There is still no help for the millions who rely on buses. Over 2000 services have been cut or withdrawn since 2010 and the asphyxiating squeeze of local authority finances mean that without any protection for supported buses, they are continuing to be lost at an alarming rate right across the country."

ENDS
Notes

On 1 December, the Department for Transport published it's first Roads Investment Strategy. This included £15bn for new roads, taking the total committed to roadbuilding to £30bn. Campaign for Better Transport described the announcement as one of the most counterproductive policy decisions for a generation, based on badly flawed feasibility studies which ignored non-road alternatives. Full details of the response can be read here.