Jo Elms' blog 13 May - What the Government may do about transport
13 May 2015
Jo Elms, commercial director Leaseplan UK
Against all odds, we have a new Government that commands a majority. And whatever your views on the outcome of the election, it ought to make some policies easier to predict.
Although political parties don't always deliver what they say they would when campaigning, the electorate can expect that there will be some attempt by the Conservatives to do what was in outlined in their manifesto. With a majority, there's no one else to blame. .
As well as plans to freeze commuter rail fares in real terms and push ahead with HS2, there was a promise to spend £15 billion on the roads, adding 1,300 lanes miles and fixing 18 million potholes over the next six years. There was even a list of the roads they planned to upgrade. One or two tied in with the Tories enthusiasm to create a "Northern powerhouse" but it's interesting that some of the worst roads in the country - including the M25, the A12, the A537 and the A14 - to take a few examples, did not make the list.
No doubt, those who use the roads listed will now be watching with interest to see exactly what's going to happen with them, but we can also expect that the way we use them will change. The Tories promised to spend £500 million over the course of this Parliament on reducing emissions further. The stated aim was to make virtually all vehicles zero emission by 2050. That ambition must be compounded - as it would have been, no matter who won - by the Supreme Court's ruling that air pollution must be tackled as a matter of priority.
Governments often push unpopular measures through as soon as they come to power - almost before any one has time to react. George Osborne has never actually abolished the fuel duty escalator but simply chose not to apply it at each one of his Budgets.
He had the chance to let it come back into operation in the spring given the falling oil price. The fact he didn't may well have been influenced by the impending election. Now, it wouldn't be a great surprise if Fuel Duty started to creep up - not least because the Government now has to find the money for all those roads they promised to upgrade.