Don Foster MP*

Pleas of Public Transport Users Have Fallen On Deaf Ears

Don Foster MP, Liberal Democrat Shadow DTLR Secretary, commenting on the implications of today’s budget for transport, said:

Main Image“It is clear that the pleas of public transport users have fallen on deaf ears.

“So little has Stephen Byers gained from the Budget that he’s not even been given a slot to speak in the four days of debate. This speaks volumes for the Secretary of State’s inability to influence the Chancellor.

“Despite the crisis on buses and trains, the amount of government investment in transport has fallen under Labour, particularly in the railways. As a result passenger delays are up 70%, cancellations are up 45% and nearly 40% of trains are over-crowded. Today’s Budget does nothing to reverse the trend.

“Today’s announcement that fuel duty is to be frozen merely honours the Chancellor’s Pre-Budget Statement commitment. He should have gone further to instil public confidence and declared a freeze, in real terms, for the lifetime of this Parliament.

“In his Pre-Budget Statement last November the Chancellor began consulting on a scheme to ensure foreign lorries pay some of the environmental and other costs of using British roads. Today’s commitment to this scheme is welcome, but it is disappointing that neither the starting date nor details are available.

“Tax cuts for the least polluting vans, cars and motorbikes are welcome, although they should have been based on carbon dioxide emissions rather than the cruder measure of engine size. But yet again, despite promises to act, we are left waiting for fuel tax reductions on many of the least polluting fuels.”


Notes to Editors

In 1996-97 the Tories spent £8.5bn on transport, £1.4bn of which was spent on the railways. In 1997-98 Labour spent £7.8bn on transport, £1.3bn of which went to the railways. In the current financial year the projected expenditure is £8.4bn, still less than the Tories were spending in 1996-97, £1.5bn of which is going to the railways. Transport 2010: The Ten Year Plan, DETR, table A3.Liberal Democrats would establish a Sustainable Transport Authority, which would look at transport problems as a whole, and work to improve safety across the network.


Nigel Jones MP, Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Beer Group and Liberal Democrat MP for Cheltenham, commenting on the Chancellor’s announcement on beer duty today, said:

“This is good news. The industry is under severe pressure from cross-Channel smuggling and this will enable British brewers to remain competitive.

“The duty relief for small brewers is also welcome. It will affect 90% of brewers, but this works out at probably less than 2% of beer production. I hope that this will enable specialist small brewers to continue producing their nectar.”


This article published: 18/09/2023

Published by Bath Liberal Democrats, 31 James St West, Bath, BA1 2BT. Printed and hosted by JPC Infonet, 2 St Georges Works, Trowbridge, Wiltshire, BA14 8AA. Your Privacy._blank


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