Dated: 25 January 2007
The Institute of Directors (IoD) today publishes ‘UK Transport Policy for the 21st Century’, a policy paper outlining the IoD’s position on key transport issues. Future economic growth will suffer, says the IoD, if we fail to tackle the failings of the current system.
The IoD states that the shortcomings of the UK transport system are the result of a lack of strategic direction in transport policy over many years, and of serious under-investment in the system. Business Leaders want confidence that in the future the UK will have a coherent and stable transport policy, fully recognising the vital role that transport plays in the competitiveness of the UK economy.
Above all, the IoD believes that a parallel approach – combining road pricing with additional road capacity – is the best way of dealing with the problems of road congestion. A policy of road user charging, incorporating peak load pricing, should be implemented as soon as possible. The revenues from road-pricing should be used to make offsetting reductions in the overall tax burden.
The introduction of road user charging should also allow investment in new rail schemes to be appraised on a fair and consistent basis. The IoD does not believe there should be further major restructuring of the railway industry, which would not help the industry to get on with the job of running the trains. .
On aviation, whilst supporting the government’s policy of providing additional airport capacity at Heathrow and the proposed addition of new runways at other airports, the IoD recognises that aviation is one of the fastest growing sources of greenhouse gas emissions, and must pay in full to cover its external costs. The best way of securing this is through the inclusion of aviation in an emissions trading scheme, and not through higher taxes which are a blunt instrument for achieving the government’s environmental goals.
Miles Templeman, Director General of the IoD said:
“Time and time again, transport crops up as one of the most critical issues for business leaders, and next to tax and regulation, is the top business bug bear. The best efforts of businesses count for nothing if they cannot get their wares to the customer in time.”
“The IoD welcomed the publication of the Eddington Transport Study, not least because an emphasis on a strategic approach to the UK’s transport problems has been long overdue. It is vital that the government acts on its recommendations, recognising the damage that an inadequate transport system can do to the competitiveness of the British economy.”
Miles Templeman added:
“Eddington was right to prioritise areas where congestion and overcrowding have the greatest potential to act as a constraint on the UK’s economic growth and competitiveness. The IoD also backs his recommendations for a blend of pricing and investment measures – including road user charging – as the most effective solution to transport capacity constraints. We also want to see transport policy effectively tackle the environmental damage that is caused.”