Angry response over disproportionate road tax spending

The Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) has reacted with anger at the news that the Government takes over three times more in motoring taxes than it spends on the roads annually.

Government figures have shown that in 2010, fuel taxes and VED raised around £33bn, £27bn of which was siphoned from money spent at the pumps.
In contrast, around £9.4bn was spent on local and national roads nationwide, while £7.6bn went to railways and just under five billion on public transport.

The news comes at an especially bad time, when motorists are feeling the pinch of fuel prices more than ever, and an inevitably snowy winter is due to bring potholes back to the front of the news agenda.

According to the Department for Transport, the Government VED take doubled between 1987 and 2010, while revenue from fuel duty more than tripled.

So, naturally, the IAM is furious, with director of policy and research Neil Greig calling it "highway robbery".

"Using so little of the taxes motorists pay on road upkeep is plainly unfair. Motorists are also paying the price as Britain's potholed and increasingly dangerous roads take their toll, damaging tyres, wheels, steering and suspension.

"Cuts are clearly going to have an impact on transport investment, but as more roads become more potholed and dangerous, spending on infrastructure now will save money in the long-term," he said.

The AA is annoyed too, unsurprisingly. President Edmund Kind said: "Fuel duty alone contributes more than five percent of the public finances tax-take, including council tax.

"Like councils that have come to rely on parking income and fines from parking and moving traffic offences to prop up town hall coffers, the Treasury is beginning to find out how high fuel prices and tax have started to kill off the goose that lays the golden egg.

"These latest Government figures show it is business as usual for UK drivers who contribute more than three times what they receive in service. This has been the way for a generation and leads to inadequate infrastructure and frustrated road users."

But the Treasury says it is doing all it can to help drivers out, including freezing fuel duty until August, scrapping a further planned rise, and implementing a fuel price stabiliser, which was introduced earlier this year. It ensures that fuel duty is not increased by more than the rate of inflation, as long as the price of oil is more than $75 a barrel.

The Government's mathmeticians say that the man who drives a Ford Focus will be £78 better off next year as a result of its changes than if Labour's planned fuel price escalator had been introduced.
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