|London, 16 Dec 2005.
For immediate release.
Contact: Malcolm Heymer
"Car ownership levels in the UK are only average within Europe, but we have higher than average levels of congestion. In addition to the failure to invest adequately in new roads, there has been a lack of understanding by successive governments of how transport is affected by policies in other areas.But it is not just reluctant commuters who add to congestion. Peak hour traffic is boosted by 'school run' parents, who feel they have little choice but to drive their children to distant schools, because of government failure to improve educational standards in all schools.
The present government's transport policies include reducing the need to travel, but many of its actions work against that policy. For instance, the UK has a very high level of home ownership, but moving house is both expensive - due to high levels of stamp duty that the government has imposed — and stressful, due to a lack of legal deterrents to potential buyers who decide to pull out at the last minute.
Consequently, when people change jobs — as they must now expect to do several times during their working lives — they are reluctant to move house. They would rather stay where they are, spend the money they save on improvements to their existing house, and put up with a longer journey to work. The government should be making it easier, not more difficult, to move house, and it should also be giving financial incentives to companies to encourage innovations such as teleworking."
"Instead of blaming drivers for congestion, the government should be looking at the transport implications of its failures in other policy areas. Transport has been the Cinderella of politics for far too long, and the results are plain to see by anyone who has the misfortune to have to use our overcrowded roads on a regular basis."