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Image: Getty (all rights reserved)
Image: Getty (all rights reserved)

Press release -

RAC urges new Government to quickly tackle the nation’s biggest motoring concerns

The RAC is calling for the new Labour Government to urgently tackle the most pressing concerns of the UK’s 40m motorists in its new transport policy.

The poor state of local roads, rising insurance premiums and stubbornly high fuel prices are the top three concerns for drivers in the forthcoming RAC Report on Motoring 2024.

As a result, the RAC is urging the Government to address these alongside four other key issues:

  • Improve local roads
  • Reduce the motor insurance tax burden
  • Make fuel prices fairer
  • Cut road casualties
  • Support the transition to EVs
  • Ensure civil motoring offences are enforced fairly
  • Make paying for parking easy for all

Improve local roads

For the second consecutive year, the condition and maintenance of the UK’s local roads is the number-one issue for drivers in the RAC Report on Motoring. Consequently, the RAC would like to see the new Government:

  • Honour its predecessor’s commitment to invest £8.3bn from the cancelled northern leg of HS2 into local roads over the next 11 years, in addition to the £320m from the deferred A27 Arundel bypass it promised in its election manifesto to fill potholes
  • Support cash-strapped councils by guaranteeing increased funding for road maintenance over a long-term period – at least for the duration of the Parliament – and commit to ringfencing some general taxation to pay for this
  • Commit councils to significantly increasing the levels of preventative road maintenance – specifically surface dressing – and move away from the symptomatic approach of merely filling in potholes. RAC analysis of government data found that council road maintenance is at its lowest point in at least the last five years
  • Resurface only those roads that are beyond reasonable economic repair
  • Work with road maintenance industry bodies such as the Road Surface Treatments Association, Road Emulsion Association and Institute of Asphalt Technology to better understand why so many of the nation’s roads are in such a poor state

Reduce the motor insurance burden

With figures from the Association of British Insurers (ABI) showing average premiums rose by a third in the 12 months to March 2024, rising insurance costs are the second biggest concern of drivers this year in the RAC Report on Motoring. These costs are felt even more acutely by the youngest drivers who say insurance costs are their biggest overall concern, with four-in-10 (44%) listing it as their top motoring worry. To address this, the RAC would like to see the Government:

  • Deliver on the commitment in the Labour manifesto to tackle ‘out of control’ prices by calling in the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to investigate premiums set by motor insurers
  • Reduce Insurance Premium Tax from its current 12% which is compounding the recent rises in motor insurance, the burden of which is felt far more by younger and more inexperienced drivers who pay the highest premiums

Make fuel prices fairer

While worry about the cost of fuel has slipped since 2023, it is still the third biggest issue on drivers’ minds overall. Petrol and diesel are still too expensive on forecourts in England, Wales and Scotland, a point clearly demonstrated by the fact prices in Northern Ireland are significantly cheaper. To give drivers a better deal at the pumps, the RAC urges the Government to:

  • Quickly set up the Pumpwatch scheme and price monitoring body as legislated by the previous government to ensure retailers always pass on savings from significant drops in the wholesale price of fuel. This would bring an end to the pump price postcode lottery, where the cost of petrol and diesel can differ dramatically between urban and rural areas. The RAC regularly engages with the Competition and Markets Authority about its emerging regulatory plans, and analyses data collected from retailers on a daily basis via RAC Fuel Watch
  • Maintain the current 5p duty cut – due to be reversed next March – until at least Spring 2026 or until such time as the Pumpwatch scheme is up and running and delivering fairer prices

Cut road casualties

Dangerous driving behaviours remain the fourth-biggest concern in the RAC Report on Motoring since first being included in 2020. In addition, government statistics show the number of pedestrian fatalities at its highest since before the pandemic. The RAC therefore asks the Government to:

Support the transition to electric vehicles

Consistent with Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders’ data showing a slowdown in private registrations of new EVs, research for the Report on Motoring shows only a small minority intend to choose an EV as their next vehicle. In order to hit the reinstated 2030 zero-emission target, the RAC calls on the Government to:

  • Reintroduce a plug-in car grant aimed at stimulating the cheaper end of the new car market to make going electric more affordable
  • Reduce VAT on public EV charging from 20% to match the 5% levied on domestic electricity so those who can’t charge at home aren’t disadvantaged
  • Adopt the RAC and FairCharge Charging Charter so that all chargers are accessible and safe for all, charger locations are clearly signposted and kWh prices are displayed prominently for drivers to see. The charter, the first of its kind in the UK, was referenced and recommended to the Government by the House of Lords committee as part of its recent EV inquiry

Ensure civil motoring offences are enforced fairly

The pressure on household finances means it’s even more important that councils enforce motoring traffic offences fairly and private parking operators aren’t fining drivers to excess. The RAC implores the Government to:

  • Prioritise publishing the revised Parking Code of Practice to prevent drivers being unfairly fined by private parking operators. Despite the code becoming law in 2019, it has been delayed by legal challenges from private parking operators. Private parking companies continue to issue excessive numbers of fines to drivers, with many simply paying up rather than contesting fines – even if they are in the right
  • Ensure councils use new moving traffic offence powers fairly regarding yellow box junctions – many are too large which means drivers will be fined unnecessarily. A future government should update guidance for councils and ensure they follow it correctly. Analysis conducted for the RAC in March found most yellow boxes already enforced in London and Cardiff are bigger than they need to be to keep traffic moving, risking unnecessary fines

Make paying for parking easy for all

More than seven-in-10 (76%) drivers surveyed for the RAC Report on Motoring say the general parking charges they face have increased in the last 12 months, with 65% feeling parking is too expensive and a further 55% deterred from visiting their local town or city centre as a result. The RAC urges the Government to:

  • Ensure drivers can always pay for parking by at least two different means, including contactless bank cards/via mobile phone. The RAC has previously surveyed drivers on the extent to which councils are removing parking payment machines altogether – forcing drivers to use mobile apps, much to their frustration
  • Roll out the National Parking Platform, which is in trials with a number of councils, as quickly as possible so drivers can pay for parking with one app of their choice instead of having to download and use a myriad of different ones

RAC head of policy Simon Williams said: “Roads ravaged with potholes. Drivers ripped off at the pumps. No progress on reducing road casualties. To say the incoming Transport Secretary has a lot to address is a huge understatement, but a new Parliament is a huge opportunity to improve the lives of all road users.

“Top of the list has to be the thorny issue of fixing Britain’s broken roads which will sadly take far more money than the promised £320m from scrapping the A27 Arundel bypass. And the roads funding hole will be even bigger if the previous government’s commitment to spend £8.3bn from the cancelled northern leg of HS2 on improving roads isn’t honoured.

“But there are some clear quick wins the new government can take advantage of, should it choose to. The recently legislated Pumpwatch fuel price monitoring scheme must be introduced quickly to give drivers a fairer deal on the forecourt and the official government Private Parking Code of Practice, which will protect drivers from being taken advantage of by unscrupulous parking operators, finally needs to be pushed over the line after five years of delays.

“We also want to see the National Parking Platform rolled out as soon as possible so drivers can use one app of their choice to pay for all their parking. Alongside this, we want a firm commitment from the Government to ensure drivers always have at least two means of payment. As surprising as it might seem, cash is still the preferred payment method for many.

“We look forward to working constructively with the new government on all the major issues affecting the nation’s drivers.”



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About the RAC

The RAC, an iconic UK brand, provides complete peace of mind to nearly 14 million UK private and business drivers, whatever their motoring needs. As well as its premium nationwide breakdown assistance service – with an expert branded patrol workforce attending more than two million breakdowns every year – it offers a wide range of market-leading products across insurance, legal services, vehicle inspections and service, maintenance and repair. Included in this is the first-of-its-kind nationwide Mobile Mechanics service which brings the garage to homes and workplaces.

At the forefront of new solutions for business fleets and consumers, the RAC’s breakdown service is electric-ready with mobile EV charging technology and can be called on using myRAC – the all-in-one route planner, fuel finder and breakdown reporting app.

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