General Election 2015: Who is on the motorists side?

The 2015 general election is on the horizon, but how are politicians planning to fix our roads, cut motoring costs and help drivers? 

The UK general election, set for 7 May 2015, is fast-approaching and with the motorist making up a huge percentage of the electorate, the leading parties are looking to curry favour with car owners.

A recent Auto Express poll revealed that UK drivers are most likely to be swayed in the general election voting booth by promises of cutting the cost of fuel and increasing speed limits. But with the political parties in the UK yet to release their manifestos, what do we know about who is likely to deliver in these areas?

The current Government – a coalition between the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats – has invested heavily in road building and maintenance. Following the spate of bad weather last year, they made millions available to councils for surface repairs. However, this was still heavily criticised as being just a drop in the ocean.

The coalition has also scrapped the tax disc, announced that the paper driving licence will be removed and started a digitilisation of the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) as it looks to cut red tape and costs.

There’s also been a fuel duty freeze which has helped petrol to hit a five-year-low. However, it’s not all been great news with a much-anticipated policy on young driver safety and insurance premiums controversially dropped.

What they said: Political party Q&A

So what about the rest? Back in April 2014, we asked the four main parties to outline their plans, focusing on what’s caused drivers to complain over the past four years: the state of the roads, rising running costs and young driver safety.

Some of the parties were unable to answer all the questions while some answers may change once the manifestos go to print.

So, which of the parties will win your vote when you get to the polling station? Take a look at the responses below to see what they could be doing to help you.

Conservatives

What are your party’s plans regarding the current state of the roads in the UK and how the network can be improved?
We’ve been funding the biggest package of road investment since the seventies, trebling the amount of money available for motorway and major A-road projects, and tackling congestion hotspots with the Pinch Point Fund.

We’re also taking action to end the stop-start approach to road funding which has held Britain back, introducing long-term settlements like the five-year plans we have on our railways.
What will your party do to try to bring down the cost of fuel, and how will you do it?We’ve now cancelled four rises in duty planned by the last government, so fuel is 13 pence per litre lower than it would have been, saving the typical motorist £7 each time they fill up.
How will your party tackle the still high price of car insurance?
One of the causes of upward pressure on car insurance is fraud. It’s not right that fraudsters think they can cheat the insurance system and get away with it, driving the cost up for people who play by the rules.

That’s why we’re cracking down on whiplash fraudsters and introducing independent medical panels so that only evidence from accredited, independent professionals is considered. We’re also reducing the cost of compensation claims by cutting the fees lawyers can make by processing basic, uncontested claims.

Labour

What are your party’s plans regarding the current state of the roads in the UK and how the network can be improved?
Labour wants a road network that works better for all road users. That means: Establishing a long-term strategy for roads, to ensure resilience and improvements for drivers. Prioritising investment in a ‘fix it first’ strategy, focusing on maintenance, and ongoing repair and renewal. This creates jobs and growth and will cut the cost of potholes in the long term – as well as ensuring that there is funding available for unexpected shocks, such as the recent floods.

How will your party tackle the still high price of car insurance?
Labour has previously suggested that the insurance industry should offer cheaper travel-to-work-only insurance for young drivers – which would be made possible through telematics technology. We will also take action to improve young driver safety, which will also bring down premiums.

How is your party going to ensure young drivers are safer drivers? What plans do you have for improving the skills of young drivers?
Labour wants to create a supportive environment for young drivers in the UK by improving their experience and equipping them to be good drivers for the future. We continue to discuss improving their safety with road safety and motoring organisations, and are open to proposals.

Liberal Democrats

What are your party’s plans regarding the current state of the roads in the UK and how the network can be improved?
It was announced in the budget that £200million will be made available in 2014/15 – this comprises £168million for England and the remainder for devolved administrations. For England, this will be a bid-based fund. This funding is new money and in addition to the £782million the Government is already committed to provide next year to councils for highways maintenance.
What is your party’s stance on road pricing and road tolls ahead of the 2015 General Election?
Our current policy is to bring in a system of cost neutral road pricing. (However, for guidance, this may change before the next election.)

How is your party going to ensure young drivers are safer drivers? What plans do you have for improving the skills of young drivers? The Government announced a green paper on young drivers. It’s expected to highlight a number of policies that would protect young drivers and other road users. By targeting safety measures at the groups of drivers most likely to have accidents, we aim to reduce premiums for everyone.

UKIP

What are your party’s plans regarding the current state of the roads in the UK and how the network can be improved?
UK Independence Party councillors in town halls will work to fix potholes and make sure roads are kept at a high standard. Years of neglect have led to many roads left in disrepair, yet all the while council tax has increased. UKIP will work to freeze and cut council tax, where possible, and spend every penny on front-line services.

What will your party do to try to bring down the cost of fuel, and how will you do it?
UKIP is the party of the motorist and we will address the high cost of petrol and diesel. Studies, such as those from the CEBR and FairFuel UK, have shown that lower fuel duty can help the economy, generate growth and create jobs. We are incredibly sympathetic to their views.

What is your party’s stance on road pricing and road tolls ahead of the 2015 General Election?
UKIP is against road tolls and will let existing contracts expire. Motorists already pay road tax, and road tolls just amount to another tax on the motorist. Previous parties have introduced road tolling and done nothing when they’ve promised to abolish them. UKIP has consistently campaigned against road tolls, and will let contracts – where private companies run road tolls – expire.

 

Read more: http://www.autoexpress.co.uk/car-news/consumer-news/86865/general-election-2015-who-is-on-the-side-of-motorists#ixzz3Pxn3m9QC

 

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