Sunday, 28 October 2018


Car drivers will supposedly be hooting with delight at the news that Chancellor Philip Hammond plans to up the spending of Highways England (and thus the income of construction companies and their consultants) by 40% over the next five years.

Maybe when it comes to voting time, they'll remember what's happened to the price of petrol. 75p a litre when the Conservatives came to power in May 2010 - 62% of that tax. Today's average 130p a litre of which 61% is tax. Since 2010, the Government has raised just under £6bn every year from Vehicle Excise Duty.

In 2010 councils in England collected £21.9bn from us; in 2018, it was £28bn, yet they can't afford to mend potholes. Central government currently doshes up a majestic £300m a year towards lumps of tarmac; Mr Hammond promises an extra £420m.  Industry estimates put the true cost of putting every road right in a year at £11.8bn.  Local councils' total spending on all elements of transport last year was £4.4bn. Increasingly, councils are having to pay for damage to cars from potholes - the AA estimates car claims are running at over 4,000 a year and rising, there are thought to be matching figures from cyclists. 

So more money for new local and national roads, rather than mending the ones we've got - and supporting and increasing motorised transport which currently delivers 22% of this country's greenhouse gas emissions - rail and air travel together count for 2%. Makes sense, eh ?

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