"War on motorists" is a myth says think tank

The war on motorists doesn’t exist and fuel taxes should be raised without delay, a left of centre think tank has said in a new report.

Pay-as-you-drive road charging and congestion charging should also be widely implemented to raise funds for public transport, according to the Institute of Public Policy Research (IPPR), which has close links to Labour, reported The Daily Telegraph.

It argues that bus and rail passengers are being hit far harder than motorists because of the soaring cost of fares. Earlier this month, it was announced that rail fares will increase by up to 11.2% in the new year, with an average rise of 6.2%.

This is compared to a 3p rise in fuel duty being scrapped in June by George Osborne, as he bowed to pressure to protect families during the economic slowdown, said the broadsheet paper.

The IPPR says drivers are in a far easier position, because they can cut their motoring costs by using more fuel efficient cars and cutting out unnecessary journeys. It urged the Chancellor to press ahead with future fuel duty rises including 3p scheduled for January 2013.

“Compared to users of public transport, there is no war on motorists,” said Will Straw, the IPPR’s associate director.

“Rail and bus users have seen fares spiral out of control while the cost of driving has actually fallen over the last decade.

He continued: “Users of public transport rarely have an alternative, while car drivers can switch to smaller and more fuel-efficient cars and cut out non-essential journeys.

“Given the pressures on the public purse, the Chancellor should avoid further delays in fuel duty and think again on rail fare hikes.”