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Roads to Nowhere

Calls for the Chancellor to promote sustainable transport in next week’s Budget

24 October 2018

Campaign for Better Transport wrote to the Chancellor, Philip Hammond MP, ahead of next week’s Budget 2018 to outline what the Government should promote through transport taxation and spending.

Darren Shirley, Chief Executive of Campaign for Better Transport, said: “Transport is one of the biggest sources of carbon emissions, and a huge contributor to local air quality issues meaning that swift action must be taken in the transport sector if the Government is to improve the air we breathe and protect the environment for future generations.

“We welcomed the Government’s commitment to low emission vehicles shown in the Road to Zero strategy, but there is much more that the Chancellor can do now to accelerate the transition to low emission vehicles and promote sustainable modes of transport.”

The letter outlines five specific areas where Campaign for Better Transport believes the Treasury should act:

Bus Service Operators Grant

The Chancellor should maintain the Bus Service Operators Grant to help address the funding crisis affecting local bus services. The charity’s recent research found funding for supported bus services has been almost halved (45 per cent) in the last eight years, resulting in over 3,300 routes being reduced, altered or withdrawn. As the main Government revenue support for bus services, the Bus Service Operators Grant must be maintained until more suitable long-term funding can be found to help ensure communities remain connected to jobs, education, leisure facilities and health services.

Rail Fares

Rail passengers up and down the country have endured extensive disruption to the rail network this year, yet rail fares are still set to rise 3.2 per cent in January. In light of this disruption, and the damage to passengers’ trust and confidence in the railways, Campaign for Better Transport is calling for a fares freeze for 2019 whilst train companies and the Department for Transport work to resolve the causes of the disruption and undertake the William’s Rail Review to solve these issues in the long term.

Campaign for Better Transport supports the Secretary of State for Transport’s view that future rail fare rises should be calculated using the Consumer Price Index (CPI) to bring rises into line with wage inflation and is calling on the Chancellor to ensure this can be brought in as soon as possible.

Company Cars

Campaign for Better Transport is urging the Chancellor to bring forward the introduction of the two per cent band for fully electric and ultra-low emission company cars to 2019/20 to help the Government achieve its Road to Zero plan and incentivise the sales of clean vehicles in the short term.

Vehicle Excise Duty (VED)

Campaign for Better Transport is calling for the carbon dioxide banding for the yearly VED charge abolished in April 2017 to be reinstated, and for an element of carbon dioxide banding for vans to be introduced to help drive down the sales of the most polluting vehicles in line with current Government policies on air quality.

The Chancellor should use the Road Fund, due to begin in 2020/21, to address the £9 billion backlog of road maintenance to tackle potholes and poor quality roads before committing money to building new roads.

Scrappage Scheme

Campaign for Better Transport is calling for the Chancellor to introduce a consumer vehicle scrappage scheme to take the most polluting vehicles off the road quicker and help those communities whose health and wellbeing is being adversely affected by air pollution. The scrappage scheme should include the option to fund public transport (such a train season tickets) or bicycles, rather than just new cars, through mobility voucher scheme or similar to further help meet the Government’s air quality targets.

ENDS

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

Notes to Editors

  1. Read Buses in Crisis 2018.
  2. 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).