General Election 2019 – Where do the parties stand on issues affecting drivers?

General Election 2019 – Where do the parties stand on issues affecting drivers?
Britain goes to the polls on 12th December 2019 for a winter general election. The RAC has undertaken a review of the main party manifestos to understand points of interest for drivers and relating to roads policy overall.

Conservative Party

  • We will make a £28.8 billion investment in strategic and local roads.
  • We will invest £1 billion in completing a fast-charging network to ensure that everyone is within 30 miles of a rapid electric vehicle charging station.
  • We will consult on the earliest date we can phase out the sale of new conventional petrol and diesel cars, while minimising the impact on drivers and businesses.
  • We will support clean transport to ensure clean air, as well as setting strict new laws on air quality.
  • We will launch the biggest ever pothole-filling programme as part of our National Infrastructure Strategy – and our major investment in roads will ensure new potholes are much less likely to appear in the future.
  • We will end unfair hospital car parking charges by making parking free for those in greatest need, including disabled people, frequent outpatient attenders, parents of sick children staying overnight and staff working night shifts. This will eliminate costs for those in need, while making sure there are enough spaces for everyone.
  • We will invest in electric buses, developing the UK’s first all electric-bus town.

Full manifesto can be downloaded here.

Labour Party

  • The Conservatives have committed to ending new sales of combustion engine vehicles by 2040. Labour will aim for 2030.
  • We will position the UK at the forefront of the development and manufacture of ultra-low emission vehicles and will support their sale. We will invest in electric vehicle charging infrastructure and in electric community car clubs. We will accelerate the transition of our public sector car fleets and our public buses to zero-emissions vehicles.
  • We will review all tolled crossings.
  • We will adopt an ambitious Vision Zero approach to UK road safety, striving for zero deaths and serious injuries. Labour will invest to make our neglected local roads, pavements and cycleways safer for the everyday journeys of both drivers and vulnerable road users.
  • Labour will introduce a new Clean Air Act, with a vehicle scrappage scheme and clean air zones, complying with World Health Organisation limits for fine particles and nitrous oxides.
  • We will provide free hospital parking for patients, staff and visitors.
  • Labour will remove the five-year surcharge on electric vehicles with a list price of over £40,000 purchase in 2020-21 and 2021-22

Full manifesto can be downloaded here.

Liberal Democrats

  • Investing in public transport, buses, trams and railways to enable people to travel more easily while reducing their impact on the environment.
  • Placing a far higher priority on encouraging walking and cycling – the healthiest forms of transport.
  • Accelerating the transition to ultra-low-emission transport – cars, buses and trains – through taxation, subsidy and regulation.
  • Accelerate the rapid take-up of electric vehicles by reforming vehicle taxation, cutting VAT on EVs to 5 per cent and increasing the rate of installation of charging points, including residential on-street points and ultra-fast chargers at service 47 stations. We will ensure that, by 2030, every new car and small van sold is electric.
  • Extend Ultra-Low Emission Zones to ten more towns and cities in England and ensure that all private hire vehicles and new buses licensed to operate in urban areas are ultra-low-emission or zero-emission vehicles by 2025; we will provide £2 billion to support this transformation.
  • Shift more freight from road to rail, including electrifying lines leading from major ports as an urgent priority, and amend the current HGV road user levy to take account of carbon emissions.
  • Support innovation in zero-emission technologies, including batteries and hydrogen fuel cells, supplementing government funding with a new Clean Air Fund from industry.
  • Restore bus routes and add new routes where there is local need; we will provide £4.5 billion over five years for this programme.
  • Introduce a nationwide strategy to promote walking and cycling, including the creation of dedicated safe cycling lanes, increasing spending per head five-fold to 48 Liberal Democrat Election Manifesto 2019 reach 10 per cent of the transport budget
  • Build on the successful Local Sustainable Transport Fund established by the Liberal Democrats when in government, and workplace travel plans, to reduce the number of cars – particularly single-occupancy cars – used for commuting, and encourage the development of car-sharing schemes and car clubs and autonomous vehicles for public use.
  • Implement, in cooperation with local authorities, light rail schemes for trams and tram-trains where these are appropriate solutions to public transport requirements.

Full manifesto can be downloaded here.

Green Party

  • Making travelling by public transport cheaper than travelling by car, by reducing the cost of travelling by train and bus. Coach travel will also be encouraged, with new routes for electric coaches provided across the country.
  • Providing more bus priority measures on the roads to improve punctuality.
  • Apply a Carbon Tax on all fossil fuels, as outlined above in the ‘Green New Deal for energy’ section, which will increase the cost of petrol, diesel and shipping.
  • End the sale of new petrol and diesel fuelled vehicles by 2030. Over the next ten years we will ease this transition by incentivising the replacement of diesel and petrol vans, lorries and coaches with electric vehicles. Our priority is reducing overall mileage and the number of vehicles on our roads – these further measures will ensure that the vehicles still on our roads.
  • Civilise our streets by making Low Traffic Neighbourhoods (in which rat-running is blocked) the norm for residential areas and making 20 miles per hour the default speed limit.
  • Make 40 miles per hour the default speed limit in non-residential areas except on major roads.
  • Ensure through the planning system that all new housing is served by high quality walking and cycling routes and much improved bus, tram and local rail services. New residents must not be forced into car use.
  • Require manufacturers to only produce the most energy efficient, low emissions vehicles.
  • Encourage a shift from models of ownership to usership, such as with car-sharing platforms and neighbourhood libraries for tools and equipment.
  • Scrapping the government’s new road building programme, including the proposed road tunnel at Stonehenge that threatens to desecrate an iconic World Heritage Site. The funding for this road building programme, the £6.5 billion in revenue received from Vehicle Exercise Duty each year, will be switched to supporting sustainable public transport and new cycleways and footpaths as part of the Green New Deal. £1.5 billion of Vehicle Exercise Duty revenue will be retained to maintain existing roads

Full manifesto can be downloaded here.

Brexit Party

No specific commitments – see their full Manifesto here.

Scottish National Party (Scotland only)

  • Campaign for the UK government to bring forward plans to move to electric vehicles to match the Scottish target of 2032
  • Campaign for the re-design of vehicle and tax incentives to support industry and business investment in zero emission and sustainable transport choices – such as reduced VAT on bicycles and additional incentives for businesses and individuals to use Ultra Low Emission Vehicles
  • Helping people with the cost of ultra-low emission vehicles (ULEVs), including second-hand cars, by providing an additional £17 million for loan funding
  • Support a diesel scrappage scheme if trading in ultra-low emission vehicles.
  • Support a freeze in further Insurance Premium Tax hikes to ensure consumers aren’t penalised for taking steps to reduce risks,

Full manifesto can be downloaded here.

Democratic Unionist Party (Northern Ireland only)

  • Increasing air pollution monitoring in Northern Ireland to fully understand the nature and spread of the problem.
  • Programme of Electrification or CNG for the public vehicle fleet.
  • A rolling target of electric charging points in public estate car-parking to encourage public sector workers to opt for EV.
  • Northern Ireland needs to keep investing in new and improved road networks to keep our region competitive. Investment should be focused upon improving connections between our key towns and cities and on schemes that are of strategic and economic importance. The DUP supported projects like the A5 and we will support further proposals such as:
    • the York Street Interchange.
    • the Ballynahinch Bypass.
    • the Newry Southern Relief Road.
    • the Enniskillen Southern Bypass.
    • Dualling of the A26
  • We will also invest significantly in road maintenance and improvements.
  • The DUP supports Northern Ireland as a test bed for roads using recycled plastics.
  • The DUP supports Extending ‘park and ride’ facilities across Northern Ireland.

Full manifesto can be downloaded here.

Sinn Fein (Northern Ireland only)

At time of writing, the party (which does not take its seats in Westminster) is yet to publish its Westminster manifesto.

Plaid Cymru (Wales only)

  • Accelerate the transition to an electric transport system so that petrol and diesel cars are phased out by 2030.
  • Create clean air zones in our towns and cities.
  • Give communities the right to place pollution-monitoring equipment outside schools and hospitals.
  • Enable local authorities to introduce pollution and congestion charges.
  • We will invest in a national electric vehicle charging network across Wales, starting the transition towards a wholly electric fleet of public sector vehicles and increased use of private EVs. Currently Wales has eight of the counties with the lowest number of public car charging points per person across Britain.
  • Plaid Cymru will introduce a bicycle use reward scheme, to encourage people out of their cars and onto their bikes. This will lead to a significant reduction in road congestion and a boost for improved health and wellbeing.

Full manifesto can be downloaded here.

As a driver, do you feel like your concerns are being addressed by the political parties above? Let us know in the comments below.


Disclaimer: The RAC has focused on political parties which have had MPs represented in the UK Parliament in the last 3 years or who gained substantial vote shares during the 2019 European and Local elections. The text included in this article is taken directly from party manifestos and the RAC does not endorse any political party. We will, however, work with the new Government and all political parties to ensure drivers’ interests are represented. Information correct as of 28th November 2019.

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