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Citizen shareholder road toll plan unveiled

A revolutionary plan to scrap car tax and give all citizens tradeable shares in England’s major road network was unveiled by a think-tank today.

The plan from the Social Market Foundation (SMF) would see all England’s motorways and major A roads becoming toll roads, with drivers paying around 10p a mile to use them.

Rather than be owned by the Government, the roads would be owned by the UK citizens, each of whom would be given a voucher representing their share of the network.

They, rather than the Treasury, would then benefit from the profits of road charging, with their voucher, estimated to be worth around £1,500, tradeable on the Stock Market.

Under the scheme, each vehicle owner would no longer have to pay the annual vehicle excise duty car tax. Also, foreign drivers would have to pay to use the toll roads.

The report, which based the value of the England strategic road network at around £95bn, said that the average car owner would be better off under the voucher scheme to the tune of a £1,500 asset and around £75 per year.

“We don’t see this as far-fetched stuff,” said the report’s co-author David Furness. “We think it’s much better for people to own the major roads than for the money to go to the Treasury.”

Ian Mulheirn, co-author of the report and director of the SMF said: “Britain’s transport infrastructure is creaking under the pressure of more and more cars. Over the next decade there will be no money to build new roads and public transport cannot make a significant difference to capacity.

“Instead we must make better use of our existing infrastructure by pricing the roads so that drivers have an incentive to use them during less-crowded periods.

“But road charging shouldn’t benefit the Government or big business. Instead every citizen should be made a shareholder of the roads so that they benefit from any profits from road charging.”

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