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Plea for roads funding shake-up to go further

Transport experts have called for the government to go further on the roadworks funding overhaul announced today.

Chancellor George Osborne said in today’s emergency Budget that from April 2020, all money raised from vehicle excise duty would be invested in the strategic road network.

The long awaited move was welcomed by leading commentators – but they called for extra measures as well.

James Stamp, head of transport at accountancy KPMG, said: “This provides some clarity about where funding for the ambitious road projects will be found.

“However, we note that while road tax raises around £6bn per year, this is dwarfed by income collected from fuel duty, which is around £27bn. We believe that more of this income should be reinvested in roads and transport infrastructure in line with the chancellor’s statement that money raised from drivers should be spent on the roads they drive on.”

Steve Gooding, director of road user research body RAC Foundation, added: “We welcomed the recent introduction of the long-term investment plans for major roads, but we were concerned about how it would be paid for. Now we know.

“Vehicle excise duty was introduced well over a century ago and for many years provided ring-fenced funding for roads. With this bold move, we have today gone full circle. Thirty seven million drivers will be pleased to see that at least some of the tens of billions of pounds they contribute in tax each year is now guaranteed to be used for investment in strategic roads.

“But it is important that we see that investment in all our roads, not just the 2% that are motorways and major A roads.”

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