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Budget leaves public transport users out in the cold

23 March 2011
Reacting to the Budget, Campaign for Better Transport slammed the cut in fuel duty and the lack of help for public transport users.

Chief executive, Stephen Joseph, said: “The Chancellor has chosen to give motorists a hand-out while leaving other transport users to face spiralling fares and service cuts. Rail users will see big fare rises year on year, while bus passengers are seeing services cut and fares increase as a result of a £133m cut in Government support. Instead of cutting fuel duty, the Government should have done more to reduce our dependence on uncertain and declining oil supplies."

The group was also critical of the Chancellor’s announcement of planning deregulation.

Mr Joseph said: “The planning system may sometimes be bureaucratic, but overall it helps protect the countryside and stops sprawling car-based developments. The resulting congestion will hurt rather than help the environment and the economy. The Chancellor's measures are likely to be politically very unpopular when put into practice, since they will promote new unwanted developments in Southern England.”

However, the decision to tax private business jets was welcomed by the group as these journeys contribute 30 times more carbon dioxide per passenger than similar scheduled flights.

Mr Joseph added: "This business jet tax and the extra regional rail investment are welcome, but are not enough to fulfil the Government's ambition to be the greenest government ever when the bulk of the Budget runs counter to this."

Notes to editors

1. Buses are facing cuts totalling at least £133m. As part of the Save our Buses campaign, Campaign for Better Transport has identified cuts to local authority supported bus services in England amounting to around £34m to date. In addition, the Bus Service Operators Grant (BSOG) will be cut by 20 per cent from 2012, which will result in £99.6m less funding.

2. Bus fares have risen by 24 per cent and rail fares 17 per cent since 1997, compared to a fall of seven per cent in the overall cost of motoring over the same period http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201011/cmhansrd/cm110214/text/110214w0006.htm

3. Campaign for Better Transport's report, Investing for the future: using fuel duty revenue to support growth, highlighted ways the Government could have used fuel duty to benefit public transport, in particular by supporting 16-18 year olds to access transport, reversing planned cuts in bus grants and helping those looking for work with the costs of transport. The report is available to download here

4. Campaign for Better Transport research found that in 2009 more than 67,000 flights in private jets and ‘air taxis’ avoided paying any tax, despite emitting up to 30 times more carbon dioxide per passenger than similar scheduled flights. Download the full report here

5. 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).