Putting the ‘C’ word to one side for a moment, there was a good deal of welcome news for road transport and logistics in the 2020 Budget, delivered on March 11th, by recently appointed Chancellor, Rishi Sunak.
Top spot for professional drivers and their bosses was probably the announcement of a 4,000 miles road building programme. It was particularly timely, coming hard on the heels of publication of the 2019 Inrix Global Traffic Scorecard, which revealed that road traffic congestion is costing the UK economy £6.9bn per annum. Due to run from 2020 through to 2025, targeting motorways and ‘A’ roads, notable projects include: upgrades to the A66 Trans Pennine highway, an underground Stonehenge by-pass on the A303 and the Lower Thames crossing, a tunnel which will ease congestion in the Dartford area.
With the environment in mind, the Chancellor included a £400m extension to the EV plug-in grant. The Government’s aim is to ensure that EV drivers are never more than 30 miles from a rapid charging point for their vehicle.
The Chancellor’s oft repeated mantra of ‘getting things done’, also included potholes. He’s created a £2.5bn fund which, all being well, a small portion of which, will be disappearing down a pothole near you. He commented: “It’s vital we keep roads in good condition. That’s why we’re going to eradicate the scourge of potholes in every part of the country.”
In what was the biggest spending budget since 1992, the Chancellor also had found the funds to freeze fuel duty – currently 57.95 per litre – for a further twelve months.