Road pricing off the agenda

  • Labour and Tories unwilling to adopt 'unpopular' system
  • March 24 likely date for pre-election budget
  • 1p fuel duty increase every April until 2013

Road pricing is unlikely to rear its ugly head again, even after the next election.

At a press conference held by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders yesterday both Labour and Conservative transport spokesmen said there were no plans to introduce a pay-per-use road tax.

Minister for Business, Innovation and Skills Pat McFadden commented: 'Road pricing is a highly visible and highly sensitive. This is not going to be popular with voters.'

Motorists cannot expect to see road pricing included in the Tory manifesto either. Conservative shadow transport minister Robert Goodwill said his party was not planning to introduce road charging for cars but there could well be a pay-per-use system in the offing for heavy goods vehicles.

Liberal Democrats, however, are in favour of road pricing. Liberal Democrat shadow transport secretary Norman Baker said his party supported a system where road charging would be introduced on motorways and dual carriageways.

With the government's budget now looking increasingly likely for March 24, motorists should not expect any surprises as far as extra taxation is concerned. In the 2009 budget Alistair Darling announced a fuel duty increase of 1p per litre for this April and a 1p per litre increase each year until 2013. This is likely to remain unchanged.