AA launches ‘Motorists’ Manifesto’
UK voters with cars and other vehicles pay more in fuel duty (£26.9bn) alone than UK firms and companies pay in business rates (£26.8bn) and the equivalent of 97.5 per cent of what is received through council tax (£27.5bn). Other motoring taxes raise another £6.1bn in vehicle excise duties, and a further £25bn from VAT on fuel and car sales, company car tax and insurance premium tax. Of the £582.6 billion raised in UK taxes last financial year, almost 10 per cent came from motorists.
So far in this election campaign little has been said about roads and the voters that rely on them daily apart from the Liberal Democrats floating a £25 hike in Vehicle Excise Duty which is likely to backfire with many drivers.
And that is why the AA has launched its Motorists’ Manifesto in the latest edition of the AA Magazine. The AA is calling on all motorists to support the AA #Vote4BetterRoads campaign. All drivers are urged to question prospective parliamentary candidates on what they will do to help drivers.
The AA Populus Panel has been busy in the run-up to the big vote. Over the last 12 months, the AA has been taking the pulse of the great British motorist to find out the issues that matter to them.
Top concerns were:
- The number one concern for drivers is potholes and the state of the roads. Road condition affects us all, whether on four wheels or, more dangerously, on two. Potholes and poorly maintained roads are a threat to road safety and cost us millions of pounds in punctures, damaged rims and even shock absorbers and suspension. We need more funding ring-fenced to improve the state of the roads.
- The cost of motoring, despite some recent relief on the fuel forecourt, also remains a concern. Again, no big shock that it comes in at number two on our list. A fuel duty freeze may have helped at the margins but the AA wants to see full fuel price transparency with published wholesale and retail prices and the abolition of tolls in England and Wales.
- Third was driver behaviour, which is perhaps more surprising. We can’t really hold the government to account for this as the ultimate responsibility lies with the individual. However, ministers can influence levels of road policing and the content of the driving test. We need more cops in cars to target dangerous behavior like tailgating and use of mobiles at the wheel. Better road safety education within the national curriculum from an early age will also help.
According to the AA Populus Panel, the most popular promises in any motoring manifesto would be:
- Fewer potholes
- Keeping motoring costs down
- Improving driver behaviour
- Widened roads
- New junctions
- Driver education
- Road safety education on national curriculum
- Regulation of private parking enforcers
- Incentives to buy safer or greener cars
- Free school buses and better public transport
- Dedicated facilities for cyclists
- Raise motorway limit to 80mph and enforce
- Consult residents before streetlights are turned off
Edmund King, AA president, said: “Thirty five million drivers, most with a vote, need to influence politicians in this election. We know that transport issues can influence votes locally. Several local councils have been unseated due to unpopular parking polices, so when those canvassers knock on your doors make sure you ask them about motoring matters.
“We will endeavour to do our bit by sounding out all the main political parties on their motoring and transport polices, reminding them that motorists can vote with their wheels. The AA does have influence; prior to the last election we were instrumental in getting two out of the three main political parties to pledge to outlaw rogue wheel clamping on private land. The good news is, after further pressure from the AA, this was subsequently achieved.
“There is always a fear that the motorist will be made the ‘cash cow’ once the election is over, when political parties feel they can quietly drop manifesto promises. Rest assured, the AA will be putting pressure on the parties to come clean on plans for fuel duty, vehicle excise duty (VED), company car tax and the use of tolls to pay for new and/or improved roads. Indeed, our research found 85 per cent of AA Members are concerned that motoring taxes will increase after the election.
“The vast majority of AA members (93 per cent) wouldn’t trust any government to deliver a fair system of tolls. Hence we will continue to oppose tolls and believe (as in Scotland) tolls should be dropped from key river crossings.
“We know that in the past motorists have been influential in elections. It was believed that votes from ‘Mondeo Man’ helped Tony Blair to victory in 1997. The AA is apolitical and we understand that elections are not won or lost on motoring issues alone. Health, education and the economy tend to sway the results. However, transport and motoring are key to economic growth in the UK and shouldn’t be side-lined.”
The AA is calling on political parties to commit to the five ‘C’s and for drivers to show support on Twitter with#Vote4BetterRoads
Condition: remove potholes, ring-fence funding, improve parking
Congestion: remove bottlenecks, improve bypasses & capacity
Casualties: remove dangerous junctions, improve education
Co-operation: remove conflict, improve driver behaviour
Cost: remove unfair tolls, improve fuel price transparency.
Edmund King, AA president was flattered to top an AA Populus Panel poll of 20,000 members, which voted him as the best person to be Transport Minister. He edged out entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson, and ex Top Gear TV presenter Jeremy Clarkson.