Osborne announces new national roads fund

July 8 2015  

Osborne announces new national roads fund
Chancellor George Osborne has pledged to create a new national roads fund, using Vehicle Excise Duty to pay for the upkeep of strategic highways in England.
Unveiling his Budget this lunchtime Mr Osborne said that every penny raised through the duty would, by the end of the decade, be used to improve the highways network. He described the move as “a long term solution to fix the country’s poor roads”.
He went on to say that he has reached agreement with the 10 councils of Greater Manchester to devolve further powers to the city in return for a directly elected mayor.
Mr Osborne also said that devolution deals are being negotiated with cities and regions including Sheffield, Liverpool, Leeds and West Yorkshire. In addition more decision making powers are being progressed for the Midlands and Cornwall.
The Chancellor also announced that Transport for the North will receive £30M in funding.
Responding to the news of a national roads fund CIHT chief executive Sue Percy said: “While we welcome the announcement today of a creation of a new road fund, we will need to review what the detail behind this means for our sector as a whole.
“This has the opportunity to provide certainty in funding for the strategic road network. We believe that the UK Government must also begin to address the funding of our local roads which make up over 97% of the network.”
Civil Engineering Contractors Association chief executive Alasdair Reisner said: “This is extremely good news for our sector because it goes a long way in ensuring a secure future for the maintenance and upgrade of the English strategic road network.
“Building on the completion of the roads reform process last year, long term funding reform of the roads network is key to delivering infrastructure that is fit for the 21st century.”
Road surfacing company Toppesfield's managing director Matthew Pryor added: "We welcome the new roads fund as it clearly underlines the Government's long term commitment to radically improving the strategic road network. This additional investment will have a transformational impact on the condition of our roads and support the growth of our wider economy." 
Campaign for Better Transport chief executive Stephen Joseph said: “The reforms to vehicle duty are welcome and could help promote greener vehicles, but the creation of a ringfenced roads fund will further inflate the Government's bloated road building plans with big new motorways adding to pollution and congestion while marginalising all other transport. The real needs are to fix local roads and give people real choice in how they travel, not to add to dependence on cars.”
Commenting on the promise of greater devolution to English regions, Sheffield City Region Combined Authority chair Sir Stephen Houghton said: “We support Government plans to devolve further powers and funding to city regions because local funding decisions are more effectively made by local council and business leaders who better understand what our local economy needs to be able to grow.
“However a deal is not inevitable and any deal for significant changes in governance in Sheffield City Region will only be made if a significant devolution deal is on offer.”
(Photo: Rik and licensed for reuse under this Creative Common Licence)

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