The Campaign for Better Transport has recently conducted a survey and reported on the findings showing that around 49% of people would support a pay-as-you-drive scheme to replace vehicle excise and fuel duty. Conversely, only 18% were opposed to the idea, with the remaining percentage of respondents having no strong opinion one way or the other.
Over 3000 UK drivers were questioned about their views on road pricing. 60% agreed that the current vehicle taxation policy is outdated and needs reforming. The chief executive of Smart Transport board member Campaign for Better Transport, Paul Tuohy, said: “What this research shows is that road pricing, far from being an unacceptable concept to the public, is one that the majority of people believe can be implemented fairly and could save most drivers money.”
The most potentially viable solution would be a pay-as-you-drive system. Survey respondents felt that provided it was well designed; this would be a more transparent and fairer way to tax road users. It would take into account many factors, including the type of vehicle; therefore, electric vehicle drivers could save money, as could those who drive a lot less as they will pay less. One of the concerns, however, is that those who live in rural locations and do not have access to viable public transport alternatives could be unfairly penalised, so the considerations, such as tax-free mileage allowance, would need to be carefully thought out. However, any pay-as-you-go scheme would immediately benefit drivers because VAT fuel duty would be removed.
Smart Transport National Conference
In November, the Smart Transport National Conference takes place, and the findings will be presented by the author of the report Sillviya Barrett. She is the head of research at Campaign for Better Transport and has spoken on the subject, saying, “Our research found that many common concerns around road pricing, things like protecting people’s privacy and not penalising people who need to drive, can be overcome with a well-designed pay-as-you-drive scheme. In fact, support for road pricing increased among the survey group over the course of the research once the scheme was thoroughly explained, proving that public concerns about road pricing can be overcome.”
2025 Target Date
She confirmed that her group is now lobbying the government, seeking to have a pay-as-you-drive scheme ready for implementation by 2025. To do this, the government will need a cross-party commission in place before the next general election if Campaign for Better Transport is going to be able to secure agreement on the case for reform. Also included in the proposed changes, they suggest that a proportion of the money gained from this new taxation would be allocated to road maintenance and improvements to public transport. Much focus will also be on the idea of drive less-pay less, which will help with the cost of living crisis, especially if public transport links are in place to offer an alternative means of transportation.