Responding to the Chancellor’s Spring Statement which was delivered to MPs this lunchtime, RAC head of roads policy Nicholas Lyes said:
“The announcement that the Chancellor will look at the possibility of reducing VED for businesses that buy cleaner emissions vans is very welcome and we look forward to seeing more detail on this.
“But 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.
“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.”