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Autumn Budget and Spending Review - Media briefing from Campaign for Better Transport

18 October 2021

Ahead of the Autumn Budget and Spending Review on Wednesday 27 October, Paul Tuohy, Chief Executive of Campaign for Better Transport said:

“The Chancellor must use the Autumn Budget and Spending Review to get the country moving again in a sustainable way and not simply accelerate a car-led recovery. We are particularly keen to see that public transport passengers are given the same level of support as drivers, with a fare freeze for next year and further financial incentives to ensure more of us can make the switch to cleaner, greener ways of getting about.”

Public transport is essential to economic growth and levelling up, providing access to employment and training, essential services and leisure facilities, and it ensures millions of us can stay connected to family and friends. It is also key to reducing carbon emissions from transport to help achieve net zero and deliver the Government’s green agenda.

Here we outline our transport priorities for the Chancellor.


  • End the fuel duty freeze
  • Review vehicle taxation with a view to replacing Vehicle Excise Duty and fuel duty with a distance-based, variable road pricing scheme
  • Suspend work on new road building projects while the National Policy Statement for National Networks is being reviewed so that more public money is not invested in infrastructure projects which are poor value for money and do not reflect the government’s green recovery and decarbonisation agenda.


  • Ban domestic flights where the equivalent train journey is under five hours
  • Make trains tickets cheaper to compete with budget airlines
  • No cut to Air Passenger Duty and a frequent flyer levy on international flights
  • Stop all plans for airport expansion until 'net zero flights' are a reality
  • Make airlines label their tickets with comparison train emissions so that people can make informed choices.


  • A rail fare freeze for 2022 to encourage people to commute by rail
  • A proper flexible season ticket that offers a comparable discount to the full-time version
  • Temporary ticket offers to encourage people to travel by rail.


  • Reform local bus funding into a single, multi-year funding pot
  • Scale up investment in zero emission buses.


For further information please contact the press office on 020 3746 2235 or communications@bettertransport.org.uk

Notes to Editors

  1. Campaign for Better Transport’s full submission to the Budget is available on its website.
  2. The ten-year fuel duty freeze is estimated to have led to five per cent more traffic, 250 million fewer bus journeys, 75 million fewer rail journeys, an extra five million tonnes of CO2 and an extra 15,000 tonnes of NOx emissions.
  3. In the last ten years (May 2011 - April 2021), bus and coach fares have increased by 77 per cent and rail fares by 36 per cent, while average motoring costs such as fuel, tax, insurance and maintenance costs have risen by just 9 per cent: https://www.racfoundation.org/data/cost-of-transport-index
  4. In a survey we conducted in March 2021, 29 per cent of adults in England said cheaper single or day tickets would encourage them to use public transport more.
  5. Rail fares increased by 2.6 per cent in March this year and could rise again by as much as 4.8 per cent in 2022.
  6. Campaign for Better Transport operates in England and Wales. Campaign for Better Transport's vision is for all communities to have access to high quality, sustainable transport that meets their needs, improves quality of life and protects the environment. Campaign for Better Transport Charitable Trust is a registered charity (1101929).