Transport Select Committee

AA response

24 July 2009

The AA totally agrees with the Transport Select Committee that the Government must improve the way in which it justifies taxes on road users to rebuild public trust. The AA made this point in evidence to the committee.


According to Edmund King, AA President, "the message is clear to the government and indeed all political parties that the motoring public has lost trust in them when it comes to motoring issues. An AA/Populus poll shows that 75% of drivers don't think any of the political parties are 'motorist friendly'.

"In the run up to the general election all political parties need to lay out their stall to show how they will help the 32m UK drivers. Most drivers are voters and the 'AA Voter' will be as important as 'Mondeo Man' was in previous elections. The driver props up government expenditure to the tune of £45 billion per year but gets little back in return."


The committee is also right to take up our warnings on how parking revenue should not be used as a blatant method for raising extra revenue from motorists. Parking income from motorists in the UK totals around £1bn. Around half this amount is from penalties for contraventions.

Road pricing

Voluntary road pricing would only work if there were cast-iron guarantees of significant reductions in other motoring taxes. An AA/Populus poll showed that if road pricing was introduced, 86% do not believe government would deliver any promised quid-pro-quo reforms to motoring taxation.

AA members say:

  • The cost of motoring is their greatest concern
  • They are divided on the principle of national pay as you go motoring with 45% opposed and 42% in support, 66% are opposed to local charging schemes
  • In earlier AA research, members said they would prefer retention of fuel duty rather than a national road pricing scheme
  • They get poor value for money for what they pay in taxes and charges, with two thirds saying road condition is worse than a decade ago
  • Recent proposals to reform the graduated VED scheme is regarded by 82% as a way of simply increasing tax take
  • They express concern about national and local government motoring policies e.g. parking charges and permit schemes, proposed pay lanes on motorways, tolls at Dartford, congestion charging in London
  • High fuel prices are having an effect with 55% cutting some car journeys and 77% cutting their household budgets
  • Despite the high cost of motoring 82% still enjoy driving and the freedom and flexibility the car affords them and 79% could not imagine life without the car

Join the discussion in the AA zone


27 July 2009