Ahead of the Spring Budget, Quadrant Transport sits down with Paul Tuohy, CEO of Campaign for Better Transport, who is calling for the Chancellor ensure that the Government’s ambitious plans for green growth and levelling up are not set back by the current crisis.
The Spring Budget is one of the most talked-about in recent history. As the vaccine is rolled out and cases start to decrease, there is pressure to both extend current support but also to provide insight into the UK’s economic recovery.
Quadrant Transport spoke with the CEO of Campaign for Better Transport, Paul Tuohy to hear what is expected of the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak in the upcoming budget.
Car-based recovery doomed from the start
One of the major calls in the transport sector is to avoid a car-based recovery. Paul explained: “We cannot allow a car-based recovery to reverse years of hard work tackling climate change and reducing air pollution in our towns and cities.”
“A quarter of people do not have access to a car – rising to 40 per cent of low-income households – so public transport is essential to rebuilding the economy in a way that does not leave people behind,” he added.
To ensure that there isn’t a car-based recovery, there needs to be an investment into the sustainability goals of the transport sector, both for 2050 carbon goals and for recovery post Coronavirus.
Adding to this, Paul told Quadrant Transport: “Prior to the pandemic and as part of its Decarbonising Transport plans, the Government said it wanted to make public transport and active travel the first choice for most journeys. We intend to hold them to that promise.
Many avenues to protect and rebuild the transport sector
Paul announced that: “It’s time to end the fuel duty freeze and reform vehicle taxation as we move towards cleaner, lower emission vehicles, and support public transport with a Government-led campaign and incentive scheme to encourage people to get back on board when the time is right.”
“We want to see bus funding reformed as part of the forthcoming National Bus Strategy and the introduction of flexible season tickets to help people return to workplaces part-time once restrictions are lifted.”
As we anticipate the Spring Budget, many people across the transport sector have high expectations to recover from Covid-19 and build back better.