Reacting to announcements made in today’s Budget, RAC head of policy Nicholas Lyes said:
“Overall, this Budget provides something for both today’s and tomorrow’s drivers.
“Today the Chancellor has chosen to give a boost to drivers of today’s vehicles with a fuel duty freeze while also investing in tomorrow with funding for rapid charging hubs for electric vehicles, an extension to the plug-in car grant, funding to repair Britain’s roads and a commitment to spend on our motorways and strategic roads.
“We welcome the Chancellor’s freeze in fuel duty which will be a relief to drivers up and down the country. While the Chancellor might have been tempted to increase duty, the reality is that for millions this would have simply increased their everyday driving costs and done nothing to encourage them to switch to cleaner vehicles. And while many want to seek alternative transport options to using their vehicles for some journeys, in so many parts of the country reasonable public transport provision simply does not exist.
“We also welcome a commitment from the Chancellor to extend the plug-in car grant until 2022-23, something we called for and which will provide a real long-term boost for drivers who plan on changing their vehicle in the next couple of years but find the current upfront costs prohibitive. More expensive electric vehicles will also not now face a higher rate of vehicle excise duty, increasing their attractiveness to new buyers. Our research suggests that cost is one of the biggest barriers for drivers who want to switch to an electric vehicle and the steps taken today provide clarity and certainty for both consumers and manufacturers.
“Alongside this, while additional funding from the Chancellor to fix our local roads is helpful, what has been committed is simply not enough. The condition and maintenance of local roads continues to be a major concern for more than a third of drivers, with a majority believing the state of local roads has worsened in the last year. However, £2.5bn over the course of five years may not by adequate, particularly if the UK is hit by extreme winter weather.
“Finally, we are pleased with the commitment from the Chancellor to continue the investment in our strategic road network. Congestion is a major concern for over a fifth of drivers and it is vitally important that we continue to keep both drivers and Britain moving.”