“As VAT is charged on the final cost at the pumps, a temporary cut in VAT to motor fuels would have benefitted drivers immediately at a time when filling up the car is hurting household budgets more than ever before, as well as the wider economy, as people will have less money to spend.”
Sunak also announced more funding for transport infrastructure. As part of this, the government will spend £21 billion on new roads around the country, some £2.6bn of which will go towards a long-term programme to upgrade 50 local roads around the country.
An extra £5bn is being allocated to local road maintenance, which Sunak claims will be enough to fill one million potholes a year. Usually, the budget allocates a fixed amount to cover potholes, rather than a repair quota.
Some £2.7bn will be spent in places not receiving City Region Sustainable Transport Settlements – which were allocated to improve public transport in eight large metropolitan areas – in order to “fill millions of potholes, repair dozens of bridges and resurface thousands of miles of roads”.
As part of an £8bn spending boost on roads, more than 50 vital local roads will receive funding, with the A509 Isham Bypass, the A259 in Bognor Regis and the A350 Chippenham Bypass all being earmarked for upgrades.
The Chancellor also announced a series of measures to combat the ongoing HGV driver shortage, setting aside new funding for lorry park facilities to improve working conditions.
Vehicle Excise Duty for HGVs will remain frozen, with the HGV levy suspension being extended for another year from July 2022 until 2023 to help haulage firms recover from the pandemic.
The Budget itself was mainly focused on maintaining the economic recovery from the pandemic, with no other policies that would directly affect motorists announced.
A small surprise was the lack of policies promoting electric vehicle use, considering the government’s recently announced Net Zero strategy, part of which will require manufacturers to sell an increasing percentage of zero-emission vehicles every year from 2024 onwards.