Fuel duty frozen for another year and an update on driverless cars in the UK in today’s Budget announcement.
Chancellor George Osborne started his speech a little after 12.30pm today and despite concerns from motorists, the news was mostly positive.
The fuel duty was frozen for the sixth successive year - the main rate of fuel duty was frozen at 57.95 pence-per-litre for 2016-17.
He said: “This marks the longest fuel duty freeze in over 40 years. Since Budget 2011, fuel duty has been kept at this level, delivering year-on-year real cuts for motorists.
“The average driver will save around £75 every year in duty compared to pre-2010 fuel duty escalator plans.
“Pump prices are now 18 pence per litre lower than they would have been if the Government had maintained pre-2010 fuel duty escalator plans, and the typical motorist now spends £450 a year less on motor fuel than they did in 2011 when the freeze began.”
It was more good news for Welsh and south West commuters when it was announced the Severn toll is set to be halved in 2018; it currently costs £6.60 to cross the bridge. The government will also review the case for free-flow tolling on the Crossings.
In the north, an extra £161million has been invested to accelerate the upgrade of the M62, transforming it into a four-lane smart motorway. A further £75million was pledged to improve further road links across the North including the A66 and A69.
The dreaded pothole also got a mention; Mr Osborne announced the Government is “setting out” how the £50million Pothole Action Fund will be allocated across in England in 2016-17. He says it will enable local authorities to fill nearly one million potholes.
The Government will also provide £130million to repair roads and bridges damaged by Storms Desmond and Eva.
While the Chancellor didn’t speak about driverless cars, it is in the full transcript. The Government intends to “establish the UK as a global centre for excellence in connected and autonomous vehicles”.
They plan to:
- Conduct trials of driverless cars on the strategic road network by 2017
- Consult on getting autonomous vehicles on England’s major roads
- Establish a £15 million ‘connected corridor’ from London to Dover to allow vehicles to communicate wirelessly with infrastructure and potentially other vehicles
- Start trials of comparative fuel price signs on the M5 between Bristol and Exeter by spring 2016