Chancellor confirms fuel duty will remain frozen and outlines plans to dramatically improve the capacity of the nation's roads
Matt Burt
3 December 2014

The government has announced a freeze on fuel duty in today's autumn statement alongside a £15 billion investment into improving the capacity and condition of the nation’s roads.

Chancellor George Osbourne said fuel duty will remain frozen for the remainder of this parliament, saving the average motorist £11 every time they fill their tank, the government claims, resulting in a saving of £680 for the typical motorist by 2015-16.

The £15bn road investment scheme, entitled ‘Road Investment Strategy’ centres on more than 100 new road improvements schemes that will take place over this parliament and the next.

A total of more than 1300 new lane miles will be added via the schemes, which will address traffic black-spots such as the A303 at Stonehenge and the remaining single-lane sections of the A1.

The news was first announced to Parliament on Monday by transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin and chief secretary to the treasury Danny Alexander.

McLoughlin said the plan is “the biggest, boldest and most far-reaching roads programme for decades. It will dramatically improve our road network and unlock Britain’s economic potential.

“Roads are key to our nation’s prosperity. For too long they have suffered from under-investment.

“This government has a long-term plan to secure the country’s future and this £15bn roads programme is demonstration of that. Better roads allow us to travel freely, creating jobs and opportunities, benefiting hardworking families across the country.”

New projects include a commitment of £2bn to dual the entire A303 and A358 to the south west, including a tunnel at Stonehenge. This will allow roads users to drive on a dual carriageway from London to within 15 miles of Land’s End.

About £290m will be set aside to complete the dualling of the A1 all the way from London to Ellingham, 25 miles from the Scottish border.

The entire length of the M62 from Manchester to Leeds will be turned into a ‘smart motorway’, where the hard shoulder can be used as a lane of traffic.

In the south east, the A27 will benefit from £350m of improvements aimed at alleviating congestion at Arundel, Worthing and Lewes.

No less than £300m will go towards upgrading the east-west connection to Norfolk, by dualling sections of the A47 and improving its connections to the A1 and recently-upgraded A11.

Some of the 100 projects had been announced previously, but the government claims 84 of them are new. It estimates that more than 6200 construction jobs will be created around the country during the road-building scheme.

Opposition figures have questioned where the funding will come from. Similarly ambitious road schemes announced in the past – most notably the Roads for Prosperity program of 1989 – were later abandoned because of a shortfall of funds and widespread public opposition.

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Comments
13

1 December 2014
Same announcement that has been made before. Quite recently in fact. Standard government tactic: nothing new to say, re-hash previous policy with a new report and issue a press release.

Besides, most of this is extra lanes or hard shoulder running, Barely a new road in sight.

1 December 2014
No matter who is in power they all do the
same.rehash a story.
I have to say they will do the wrong thing
if they do what they say they will do.
they need to cut the the number of cars
on the road.some new roads are needed
yes but not that many.
what the country needs is a vast improvement
of public transport so less people use the
car for short trips.
then there would be more space on the
the road.simple.

1 December 2014
There was a big fuss made 4 yrs ago about getting infrastructure projects moving as a way of stimulating the economy, many never happened. I would say most of these were on that list as well..... so we shall see.
It ought to be a priority for any gov with eyes and half a brain ?

1 December 2014
Same old, same old. Big promises before the election, once the election is won, the promises either get quietly forgotten or severely watered down.

The funniest one made at the last general election was the promise to cut net immigration to tens of thousands... what was it at last count? 250,000?

1 December 2014
You can safely ignore anything said by any of the political parties at this stage in the electoral process.

1 December 2014
Its a national scandal that this road is not Dualled (motorway!) all the way from Newcastle to Edinburgh.

The "upgrade" amounts to
8 miles from Morpeth to Felton
7 miles from Alnwick to Ellingham
Oh and don't forget the "crawler" lanes!

Pitiful

This leaves 20 miles as single carriageway to Berwick on Tweed (the by-pass not being dualled either).
And then another 26 miles before it becomes dualled again in Scotland.

Some upgrade

3 December 2014
There are still too many roads that have pot-holes that don't get fixed. Also, and I speak for my local area of Kent, road signs never seem to be cleaned or hedges cut back. Wish they would spend some money on making simple things better !

3 December 2014
I must say since this government loads of our roads in Cambridgeshire seem to be getting done. There is always resurfacing going on and its a dramatic improvement. There will always be people moaning that they dont get enough and they want to have tax's cut but you cant have it all ways.

289

3 December 2014
....excuse me, how do they manage to spin this into a saving for us?
Its only a saving if they were going to increase the tax....and clearly they wouldn't have the balls to do this in the run-up to an election.
All the cost of fuel savings have been due to the price of petrol falling, there has been no help from the Government who frankly should freeze the cost of petrol at £1:00 per litre and regulate the tax to achieve that according to oil price...
They have also not forced the Petrol companies to reduce the price in line with the oil price (25%)
As far as the spending on roads....they cant afford it and have no intention of honouring these promises, purely headlines for votes. And they wonder why politician's are the most reviled and seen as the most untrustworthy individuals in the country. Estate Agents in comparison are mere puppy's!
Electorate dis-engaged with politics?, of course!

3 December 2014
Quite agree, we cannot afford to spend money we don't have on roads. Similarly, neither can we waste vast amounts of money (and credibility) implementing Price Controls with respect to the (highly volatile) global energy market. Still, if you're up for a bit of Soviet-style economic mismanagement then vote for Ed Miliband as he wants that too. Or maybe try North Korea.

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