It usually takes a few days to unpick the ins and outs of a government Budget. At first sight, today’s budget doesn’t seem too bad for motorists, particularly as fuel duty has been frozen again.

Perhaps the hidden highlight is that government is also promising a major ‘Road Investment Strategy’ by the end of the parliament.

Although we’ll have to wait four years – mainly because the UK should have balanced its books by then – some proper road improvements - and even whole new roads - will be desperately needed by the end of the decade.

Trouble is, building new roads has been seen as political dynamite since 1990. The tipping point was probably the Conservative government’s ‘Roads for Prosperity’ white paper of 1989.

It was billed as the ‘largest road-building programme in the UK since the Romans’ and proved to be something of a turning point in the UK’s rather odd relationship with the private motor car.

Huge protests broke out about plans to build the M3 extension beyond Winchester and the M11 extension/East Cross Route through east London.

Although the two roads – both commercially important – were built, the ferocity of the protests put a stop to major road building in the UK, leaving us with a comparatively tiny motorway network compared even to counties such as the Netherlands.