Philip Hammond has been appointed the new Secretary of State for Transport. Will the Tories be more of a friend to the motorist than Labour? We hope so.
The Tories claimed in their election campaigning that motorists have had a raw deal under Labour. Do you know, we’d not noticed.
We’d not noticed the inexorable rise in fuel duty even when the country was crying in pain; hadn’t seen the proliferation of speed cameras as revenue gathering tools; not noticed Ken’s cynical manipulation of London’s traffic prior to introducing congestion charging; failed to see that under Labour coppers had disappeared from our roads to be replaced by brainless machines. Not much, we’d not noticed.
So will the Conservatives be any better? It’s hard to see how they could be any worse. There is the problem that they may need to take in to consideration some fluffy-bunny thinking from the Lib Dem side, but on the whole we would expect them to have a less cynical approach to cars and motorists.
They have also appointed a very bright chap as Transport Minister (sorry, Secretary of State for Transport) in Philip Hammond. Philip is far from anti-car and sharp enough not to be too swayed by the whole man-made global warming lobby.
Hopefully – although more in hope than expectation – Philip will also look objectively at the current obsession with taxing motorists based on the irrelevant CO2 emissions of their cars. Please, if there has to be a basis for emissions taxation do it on something relevant like particulates and NOx, and not CO2.
Just to remind us, this is what the Tories promised the motorist in their election manifesto:
- Stop central funding for new fixed speed cameras
- Focus on better ways to make our roads safe including authorising ‘drugalyser’ testing technology.
- Crack down on road works, introducing lane rental for some of our busiest roads;
- Give more powers to local councils to get traffic moving;
- Crack down on rogue clampers;
- Introduce a lorry road user charge, so foreign lorries pay their fair share of tax;
- Consult on our Fair Fuel Stabiliser
- Facilitate the switch to green cars by creating a national car recharging network.
Hopefully this is a start, not a complete plan. We worry about commiting funds to create a national recharging structure for electric cars. That sounds like a promise to gather votes rather than a thought-through policy. But we’ll see.
Good luck, Philip. We’ll be watching.