New report asks where your road tax money is really going

In short: it’s not entirely going towards the upkeep of Britain’s roads.

A new report from the RAC Foundation has revealed that UK drivers are now paying the Chancellor four times the amount in tax than is actually being spent on maintaining and improving the nation’s roads.

The report – entitled Public Expenditure, Taxes and Subsidies, was written by the foundation’s transport consultant David Bayliss, and found that Government spending on our roads has fallen 22% since 2008. Spending on trains and public transport has also dropped in that time.

However, despite the dip road transport remains the most heavily-taxed method in the country, and those costs continue to rise thanks to escalating fuel duty and other fees that cause the cost of motoring to rise each year.

The paper goes on to explain that transport taxes generated £30.7 billion in 2012 – that’s 24.8 billion from road fuel duty and £5.9 billion from VED.

But in that same year, the Government only spent £7.5 billion on the country’s road network, and in the end – factoring in spend on other modes of transport – some £13 billion went unspent from the overall pot.

Professor Stephen Glaister, director of the RAC Foundation, said of the discrepancy, “Trying to understand transport finances is complex business but this report pulls together all of the data and presents an overview of what road users contribute to the Exchequer and what they get back.

“The real worry is not the gap between tax income and expenditure levels, but the decline in spending on roads in real terms.

“Road user taxation is not hypothecated, and all areas of government expenditure are under threat, but there is strong argument to say that faced with a growing highway maintenance backlog more of the money taken from road users should be spent preserving the road network which is a vital national asset.”

The report adds that Government spending on UK roads has fallen 22% since 2008, a trend that looks set to continue.

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