ROAD SAFETY? BUDGET?
Recently in the latest budget we heard Mr Hammond, our Chancellor readily “give an extra” 420 million pounds to local Councils for road repairs e.g. pot holes….. Many thanks Mr Hammond!
To put that into perspective, I have sourced 2016/17 revenue figures from the RAC Foundation. The revenue is a combination of fuel duty + VED (Vehicle Excise Duty) raised by government. 33.81 billion was raised in 2016/17, so by my calculations, our government is investing or giving back a further 1.24% of the revenue raised or that we have paid in taxation to use the roads….I say again, thanks Mr Hammond!
I’ll go further. It appears pretty consistent using the same figures, that between 1998-2017, circa a mere 20-30% of the revenue raised between fuel duty and VED, has been reinvested back to our road network! WHY? Where has the money gone? This would very much suggest that motorists are used as nothing more than a “CASH COW” for government.
Like it or not, our road network is arguably the most important transport infrastructure. There is no realistic alternative. So why do successive governments not invest the taxation we have paid back into the system?
Ok, I hear talk of “public transport”………..Stop dreaming! A driver contributes to the Treasury 3.8p/km, whilst through huge subsidies, local buses and trains COST the Treasury 6.5p/km and 8.5p/km respectively! So it would appear the “road user” is also the one subsidising the huge cost of public transport, being circa 2-2.5 times higher per kilometre!
Roads cannot be abolished, they are a lifeline for the country. They need constant maintenance and upgrading to cope with the greater numbers of vehicles, which in turn, increases revenue. WHY HAS THIS NOT BEEN DONE MR HAMMOND?
Cars contribute 63.9% of motoring taxation, HGV’s 18%, LGVs 13.8%, Buses 3.5% with Motorcycles bring up the rear at 0.6%, according to 2012/13 figures.
So let’s go further…..The government needs the fuel duty and VED revenue, but are actively conspiring ways to not reinvest it…….This is clearly seen when looking at the figures. Recently, we have seen roads, wide, open roads being downgraded from the National Speed Limit to 50mph. We are told it is due to safety….but isn’t it ironic that a 50mph posted road requires considerably less maintenance, including hedge-cutting etc through its declassification and downgrading.
THE RADICAL SOLUTION – If ALL roads were declassified to 6 mph, hardly any maintenance would be required. Mr Hammond can keep a greater percentage of revenue raised through road usage. This could also help with unemployment statistics……Each vehicle could have someone walking ahead carrying a RED FLAG. NOW THAT’S PROGESS!