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Lib Dems reveal transport plans

Date: 06 June 2008   |   Author: Tom Webster

The Liberal Democrats have confirmed road user charging would be a central theme to their transport policy if elected.

They also revealed plans to abolish VED over the next 10 years and cut fuel tax.

The policy's aim is to tackle congestion, reduce pollution and increase long-term rail investment.

There was no indication what financial impact the proposals would have on business car drivers or firms.

"Motorway and trunk road pricing will cost the average motorist no more but the costs will be honest and upfront and rural motorists who have to rely on their cars will save money," said Lib Dem transport spokesman, Norman Baker.

"Motorists and passengers are getting a raw deal under Labour. We are turning into cattle truck Britain, with rail services overcrowded and congestion growing on the roads."

Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg added: "At a time when families are feeling the pressure of the rising cost of travel, only the Liberal Democrats are setting out how to make our transport system sustainable, affordable and fair."

Meanwhile, Conservative leader David Cameron speaking at Prime Minister's Questions last week said the proposed road tax rise was "not a green tax, it's a stealth tax".

"If you don't get rid of it, they will get rid of you," he told the Prime Minister.

"What on earth is green about taxing someone who bought a Ford Mondeo five years ago?"

Gordon Brown replied by claiming the tax changes would increase the number of clean cars and save 1.3 million tonnes of CO2.

Labour MP Ronnie Campbell later told the BBC the changes were not universally popular in the party: "We haven't got a problem with green taxes but they have got to be fair and the retrospective bit of this tax is not fair."