Thinking about who you’ll be voting for on May 7? Have a look at CDG Cars‘ quick guide to how the main parties stand on motoring-related matters. See who’s driving the best deal for car owners here…
Here’s what the austerity-driven Tories have planned for the UK’s drivers and transport in general…
Fuel Duty: No direct reference to Fuel Duty, but with a track record of looking kindly on hard-pressed motorists, it seems unlikely the Tories would increase this any time soon.
Roads: The Conservatives have pledged to bring drivers the biggest investment in roads for more than 30 years. With £15bn investment promised for roads – 6bn earmarked for highways in the North – road trips should get a lot smoother and faster.
Verdict: On the face of it, the Tories look like they’re promoting a driver-friendly future on the roads.
Ed Miliband isn’t such a fan of austerity, so will he blow his billions supporting drivers if he gets the keys to No.10?
Fuel Duty: No mention of this in the party manifesto, but the Party’s energy chief, Caroline Flint, said a future Labour Government would consider increasing fuel duty ‘in line’ with inflation. Using the motorist as a ‘tax cow’ will not be popular.
Roads: No talk of money, but Labour says: ‘ We will support long-term investment in strategic roads, address the neglect of local roads, and promote cycling.’
Verdict: The Labour manifesto is heavily biased towards public transport such as buses and trains, so don’t expect too much love for drivers.
Not known for its support of private motoring, let’s see what the erstwhile Coalition partners have planned for drivers if they grab a slice power-sharing action after May 7.
Fuel Duty: Not mentioned in the party manifesto, but expect a less than sympathetic ride for drivers.
Roads: Reading the Lib Dem manifesto shows it’s more an ideological take on roads rather than doing anything that might help drivers. Here’s what the manifesto says: ‘ Updates to roads regulation to promote innovation in transport like driverless cars and personal electric vehicles.’ Sounds good in theory, but doesn’t sit well with an age of austerity and cuts, perhaps?
Verdict: Move along, there’s nothing here for drivers.
After its self-confessed ‘drivel’ manifesto, Ukip return with a more coherent document for 2015. Here’s what is on offer…
Fuel duty: While there’s no direct mention of fuel duty, the Ukip manifesto says: ‘Motorists are already taxed highly enough through fuel and vehicle taxes.’ This appears to be a clear indication it won’t be making the situation worse by hiking fuel duty.
Roads: The party is clear in its opposition to ‘safety cameras’ on roads and demands they should only be used for ‘safety’ and not just as a revenue opportunity. Ukip says it will also remove road tolls wherever possible.
Verdict: Whatever you think about its wider policies, it would seem the driver has little to fear from Farage.
We’re thinking it might be better for hard-pressed and over-taxed motorists to skip this section… but just for the record…
Fuel Duty: The Green Party would like to ‘reintroduce the fuel duty escalator, raising £2.2billion in 2015 and an additional £2.2billion in each successive year through the Parliament’. Yes – that £2.2billion will be coming from your pocket.
Roads: You’ll be happy under the Greens – if you can cycle to work or have usable public transport in your area. Otherwise, move along.
Verdict: We all appreciate the environment needs help, but we also need to be realistic. New low-emission cars etc make the automotive industry one of the most environmentally progressive sectors.
Scottish National Party
It might well have power far beyond the Scottish border, but will it help the wider UK population (that it wants to break free from).
Fuel Duty: If you live in a rural area of Scotland then expect some relief on fuel duty. There’s no word in the manifesto about bringing a fairer deal to the rest of the UK.
Roads: Mostly interested in better rail links. Nothing else on offer for UK road users.
Verdict: Not surprisingly, the SNP won’t be looking south when it comes to helping motorists.
Democratic Unionist Party
The Northern Ireland-based party may have influence after the election, but is it interested in UK drivers as a whole?
Fuel Duty: No mention of this.
Roads: Devolution has meant more and improved roads for the people of Northern Ireland, but there’s nothing mooted for the rest of the UK.
Verdict: Not surprisingly, the DUP is not really looking to improve the roads in the rest of Britain.
Plaid Cymru (Wales)
Like the DUP and other smaller parties, votes from the likes of Plaid Cymru could be vital in a hung Parliament. Find out which way it would veer on motoring issues here.
Fuel Duty: Plaid will ‘create a fuel duty regulator to prevent unpredictable rises in fuel charges and push for rural fuel price reductions’.
Roads: The party has said it supports a cheaper ‘blue route’ to reduce south Wales M4 traffic. It will also invest in all regions, including A55 north Wales
Verdict: Good bet for Welsh drivers. However, devolved powers will make other areas irrelevant for the remainder of the UK.