With an election looming, there is not a day that goes passed without a series of questions being asked about one parties policies, however, these aren’t always on topics the general public want to hear about or want discussed.
With 30 million drivers across the UK, any motoring laws that are introduced will affect almost half the population, this particular statistic emphasises how important the driving population could be in swinging an election. So with the front runners well into the final stages of their campaigns, who is championing what laws for our roads?
The current Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition have made several changes to our roads since they were elected in 2010. They have focussed heavily on the repair and maintenance of our roads, scrapped the Tax Disc, froze fuel duty increases that has enabled the motorist to see the lowest fuel prices in five years and announced the removal of paper driving licenses as they look to cut-costs within the DVLA.
So what do they plan going forward?
The Conservatives have stated in their manifesto that they will continue to focus on what they’ve done during their current time in power. They are pledging to put £15 billion into repairing current roads and building a further 1,300 miles of road to improve the UK’s transport network. They have promised to fix 18 million potholes and have claimed they will prioritise ensuring every car or van will be emission-free by 2050. David Cameron also emphasised the benefit for motorists that his government has allowed by freezing fuel costs five times resulting in petrol being 13p per litre cheaper and saving £7 on average per fuel tank.
One of the big focal points in the motoring sector for politicians going into this campaign is how to tackle the sky-high insurance costs for young or first time drivers. Cameron says that costs are so high due to high-levels of fraud and has promised to stamp down on the ever-growing whiplash fraud taking place on UK roads.
So, we’ve heard what Mr Cameron hopes to achieve, what about his arch-rival Mr Miliband?
Labour’s manifesto isn’t particularly enthralling for motorists in that it doesn’t focus on them nearly as much. What they do say however, is they plan to implement a long-term strategy to repair our current network that will create jobs and growth within the economy. Tackling the troubling issue of the cost for young drivers, Miliband claimed a Labour government would focus on young drivers’ safety and introduce cheaper and more affordable insurance schemes such as ‘travel-to-work insurance’.
Mr Cameron’s current colleague in Power Nick Clegg has vowed to reduce emissions under Liberal Democrat power. He has announced a reform of Vehicle Excise Duty (Car Tax to you or me) and has controversially promised a £100 million prize (funded by the tax payer) to the manufacturer who can produce an ultra-low emission vehicle that features amongst the top 5 most sold in the UK.
When questioned about the costs for young drivers, Nick Clegg and his peers are adapting a similar approach to that of his Labour rivals, putting the real focus on young driver safety and hoping this reduces the costs in the long-term.
Next on the list of major players in the upcoming election is Mr Farage and UKIP. Mr Farage’s manifesto (if adhered to) will probably sit well with most motorists. He includes policies such as removing any charge from hospital car parking, ensuring speed-cameras are only utilised in high accident spots rather than as money makers and abolishing road tax for any cars over twenty-five years old. He has promised to be the ‘party of the motorist’ and is against road tolls, keeping prices low and focussing on ensuring our roads are kept in good condition.
The growing Green party provide a few policies which might not sit quite so well with some motorists. They have announced that the extra £15 billion injected into the motoring industry would be used to subsidise public transport and improve walking and cycling facilities for the general public. They also want to see the introduction of 20mph speed limits in residential areas to save lives and save on fuel.
Lastly but by no means least we look at Plaid Cymru’s pledge to motorists. They are hoping to gain Welsh ownership of the Severn Bridge and reinvest the money used into improving Welsh transport. They also plan on implementing fuel regulations to protect the motorist against peak prices of fuel and offer discounts on prices to those living in more rural areas. They also promote the use of electric vehicles so will introduce more charging points for plug-in vehicles.
Although politics can seem tiresome and coming up to an election it grabs a stronghold on our televisions, radios and general daily lives, the importance of it cannot be understated. The leading parties are taking different levels of interest in the motoring sector but all understand that we could be key components in winning the election. Will their road policies influence the way that you vote?