Very disappointed drivers as Spring Statement fails to address poor roads
Motorists across the UK have been left “disappointed” after Chancellor Phillip Hammond failed to address the deterioration of the UK’s roads in his Spring Statement.
Following the arrival of the ‘Beast from the East’ earlier this month – which saw spells of freezing rain and snow storms across the UK – the RAC had warned roads have been left in an even worse condition than before and could now pose a “serious risk” to drivers.
The RAC’s head of roads policy Nicholas Lyes, said: “Motorists will be very disappointed that the Chancellor hasn’t addressed the issue of the condition of local roads in his Spring Statement.
“Put bluntly, before the cold snap the condition of many local roads was on a knife edge with many councils struggling to fix our roads properly.
“But now, as a result of the ‘beast from the East’ some local roads will have deteriorated even further, possibly to the point that they represent a serious risk to the safety of users.”
The organisation added that figures for pot-hole related breakdowns were up 110% following the severe weather spell and said it is “disappointing” that emergency funding hasn’t been granted to help resolve the problem.
It advised the Government to look into providing long-term funding to repair damaged roads as a “matter of urgency”.
Mr Lyes continued: “Figures from the RAC reveal that pothole-related breakdowns soared in the first week of March following the bitterly cold spell the country experienced. Our patrols attended some 218 call-outs per day on average between 4th March and 6th March, a rise of 110% on the period in the run-up to the cold spell.
“It’s disappointing that emergency funding has not been made available, but it’s a matter of urgency that the Government starts to look at the issue from a long-term point of view. This means that a funding strategy to address both prevention and cure, and certainty for local authorities so they are able to plan ahead.
“We calculate that if the Government was to ring-fence 5p a litre from existing fuel duty revenue, this could provide £11.8bn over five years.
“This would go a long way to fixing our roads as the one-off cost of bringing them back to a fit-for-purpose state is independently estimated to be in the region of £12bn.”
However, there was also some welcome news for motorists in the statement as Mr Hammond announced vehicle excise duty (VED) rates could be lowered for companies that use low-emission vans in their fleets to help incentive cleaner transport.
Van drivers who buy new cleaner models could pay lower tax rates once the proposition is reviewed by The Treasury.
Mr Lyes said: “The announcement that the Chancellor will look at the possibility of reducing VED for businesses that buy cleaner vans is very welcome and we look forward to seeing more detail on this.”