East Sussex County Council will not receive any monies from the Chancellor’s new vehicle excise duty road fund despite East Sussex motorists paying over £55 million* per year in vehicle excise duty. The new fund will only be for trunk roads and motorways. It will not be available for local roads which represent 98% of the UK road network.
The fund was unveiled by George Osborne in his July 2015 Budget. It will see the introduction in 2017 of three new levels of vehicle excise duty for new cars, starting with a lowest duty of £140 per year. The Chancellor promised that “every single penny raised in vehicle excise duty in England will pay for the sustained investment our roads so badly need” and stated that “tax paid on people’s cars will be used to improve the roads they drive on.”
“It is unfortunate that the majority of roads used by the majority of traffic will not benefit from this fund”, said Howard Robinson, chief executive of the Roads Surface Treatments Association. “Last year Kent drivers paid over £55 million in vehicle excise duty yet the Council received only £16.5 million grant from the Department for Transport for road maintenance.” He continued: “The road fund should be used to invest in both the national and local road network. As stated by the Chancellor the tax fund should be used in improve the roads that people drive on surely that should include the local road network.”
*Calculated by multiplying the Department for Transport figures for the total number of vehicles registered in East Sussex for 2014 (330,608) by the £166 average vehicle excise duty charged per annum according to the Chancellor’s July 2015 Budget speech.