CBI calls for motorways sell-off and more toll routes

I’m sorry, it’s only Monday and I’m having to issue my first apology.  I’m about to go Off Piste.

I saw the headline above this morning and immediately hit the rev limiter.  The full article can be found here.  How very dare Cridland, Director General of the CBI, claim that “the nation’s roads are so drastically underfunded that “levering private sector investment is the only way [to fund] a long-term future for roadsand “The UK road network is the last piece of infrastructure fully funded by the government,”

Well, I can’t speak for all of you, but I pay my Vehicle Excise Licence promptly.  What is that for if it’s not to fund the roads?  Fuel prices in this country are amongst the highest in the western world

Petrol Price Comparator June 2012

I must take a small issue with the above table as I drove through France last month and because of the collapsing Euro fuel was once again cheaper in France than the UK.  They also do things the right way round and petrol is dearer than diesel.

58 pence in every litre you buy at the pumps goes to HMG in Duty, PLUS 22 or 23 pence in VAT.

Where Does Your Money Go?

I’m not going to attempt to multiply VEL rates by the number of vehicles in the UK and then by the amount of tax generated for each litre of fuel, but you may rest assured it is a big number.

So, getting back to my original point, if the roads are underfunded, surely it MUST be because the government are collecting the taxes from us and not passing them on to the Highways Agency for example, and whoever else may need it.  I assume that this is not restricted to the incumbent government but has been a practice handed down over the generations, all treating us mugs with contempt.

On the subject of tolls, I have driven in France and I have lived in France, I have even driven down their Peages (toll motorways) – by choice.  The point is that there is a choice, if you don’t want to pay the tolls there is normally a suitable alternative route running almost parallel to the toll road. Vehicle Excise Licence does not exist in France, so with toll road and Fuel Duty taxes fall on those who use the roads most often.  The more miles you drive, the more tax you pay.  That sounds perfectly fair to me, didn’t hear the French population complaining about that one.  A journey from Marseille to Calais would currently cost you about 85 Euros in each direction.  Not particularly cheap, but optional, and that is my point.

So if the CBI think that the roads are underfunded and that we ought to introduce more toll roads, I would suggest that they need to build new roads, such as the M6 Toll (a fine road) and not just build toll booths on our existing motorways.  Give us the choice, although I suspect that funding will not be forthcoming to build a host of new roads, nor is there the space to.  The realistic alternative?  More privatisation I fear.


This blog represents my personal views and does not necessarily reflect the views of my fellow collabarator.


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