Fuel tax demand hits Labour as RAC urges Keir Starmer against raising prices

Labour faces questions as to whether it will match the Conservative promise to spend £8.3 billion on tackling potholes and improving local roads.

The money was freed up by Rishi Sunak’s decision to cancel the northern leg of the High Speed 2 rail link, but transport policy will now be redrawn by an incoming Labour government.

The RAC motoring organisation said Labour also has urgent questions to answer on fuel duty, petrol price rip-offs and the spiralling cost of insurance.

It said the RAC would like to see the new Government

* Honour its predecessor’s commitment to invest £8.3bn from the cancelled northern leg of HS2 into local roads over the next 11 years, in addition to the £320m from the deferred A27 Arundel bypass it promised in its election manifesto to fill potholes

* Support cash-strapped councils by guaranteeing increased funding for road maintenance over a long-term period.

* Commit councils to significantly increasing the levels of preventative road maintenance – specifically surface dressing – and move away from the symptomatic approach of merely filling in potholes.

Looking at other issues for the nation’s 40 million drivers, the RAC said high fuel prices are a top three concern for drivers.

It is urging Labour’s new Chancellor, Rachel Reeves, to maintain the current 5p duty cut on petrol and diesel, which is due to be reversed next March and would potentially cost drivers billions of pounds.

The RAC said Labour should also press ahead with the promised Pumpwatch scheme and price monitoring body as legislated by the previous government to ensure retailers always pass on savings from significant drops in the wholesale price of fuel.

It said: “This would bring an end to the pump price postcode lottery, where the cost of petrol and diesel can differ dramatically between urban and rural areas.”

The spiralling cost of insurance is threatening to drive many people, particularly young adults, off the road.

The RAC said Labour should follow through on a manifesto commitment to tackle ‘out of control’ prices by calling in the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to investigate premiums set by motor insurers.

On safety, the motoring organisation wants an end to the controversial smart motorway changes with a return of hard shoulders to boost driver safety.

The RAC say a new Labour government should restore measures to encourage a shift to electric vehicles with, for example, new grants to subsidise purchases and a reduction in the 20 percent VAT rate on using public charging stations.


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