Car drivers make up a huge swathe of the voting population and will have been a powerful force in the 2015 General Election. Fuel duty, potholes, incentives for drivers to buy environmentally friendly cars and the health of the car industry have all been on the agenda. But now the dust has settled, what does victory for the Conservative party mean for Britain’s drivers?
2015 General Election: Fuel duty
The previous government identified freezing fuel duty as a means of helping drivers. Managing director of policy and communications for the Freight Transport Association (FTA), James Hookham said: “The government has understood that when it talks about hauliers and motorists it’s actually talking about small and medium-sized business and families. Chancellor George Osborne was aware that fuel duty isn’t a tax on a minority.” However, like every other main party, the Conservatives didn’t mention fuel duty in their manifesto.
What it might mean: Drivers shouldn’t expect fuel duty to stay at the same level for years to come.
2015 General Election: Road funding
Every driver knows the nation’s roads are in a shocking state after years of neglect. A recent report claims it would take £12bn to bring Britain’s roads up to scratch. Therefore the Conservative pledge to provide £15bn to build 1300 extra-lane miles of road and fix 18 million potholes sounds like a welcome break for car drivers.
What it might mean: There is no quick or cheap fix for the sorry state of the country’s roads. But any improvements will be welcomed by drivers.
2015 General Election: Company car drivers
The recent coalition government continued the previous Labour government’s system of taxing company cars according to carbon dioxide output. Companies that run fleets of cars were concerned this might change. John Pryor, chairman of the Association of Car Fleet Operators (ACFO), said: “Currently using CO2 as a means of setting taxes is very simple. It makes low emission and ultra-low emission vehicles very appealing to fleets. It’s clear, it’s sensible and it’s easy for drivers to understand what they are going to pay. We wouldn’t want to see that changed.”
What it might mean: There’s nothing to suggest a new Conservative government is going to alter the current company cars tax structure. That’s likely to be welcomed by many drivers who run company cars.
2015 General Election: Low emissions vehicles
Car makers are doing a great job of reducing harmful emissions from their internal combustion engines. However, in their manifesto, the Conservatives said they wanted all the UK’s vehicles to be zero emissions by 2050. To help achieve this, they will set aside £500m of funding. Although details were sketchy, presumably some money will be devoted to research and some for incentives to help people buy zero emission vehicles.
What it might mean: Although it sounds like a lot, £500m is a relatively small commitment if you’re trying to implement such a far-reaching and expensive long-term strategy.
2015 General Election: Referendum on Europe
Like it or not, being part of the European Union is important for many UK businesses. The Conservatives have promised a referendum on whether we should stay in the EU or leave.
What it might mean: Business leaders are concerned about uncertainty over this before any people’s vote. They worry it may have an impact on whether global companies choose the UK as a manufacturing and research and development centre.