Fuel duty rise blasted as a 'devastating blow' to sustainable transport; JE James features in ITV budget coverage

BUDGET 2014: Potholes, petrol and a new city geared up for cycling?

While beer, bingo and pensions have been among the talking points of yesterday’s budget, there were some measures that will – or could – impact on the cycle world:

There’s going to be a £200 million fund to tackle potholes. While it might sound trivial to the uninitiated, potholes ramp up the dangers of cycling.

Sustrans’ Head of Policy, Claire Francis, said: “Any money to repair this winter’s damage to our roads is welcome but, considering the £10 billion road maintenance backlog, £200 million is nowhere near enough. Potholes are dangerous for all road users – resolving this crisis will save lives.”

The IAM had a similar reaction. Director of policy and research Neil Greig said: "Every little helps and it will be welcomed in many areas hit by this year’s bad weather. With a ten billion pound back log in repairs however, it is only through consistent long term funding that the pothole problem can finally be fixed."

New city, new opportunity for cycling
The Chancellor also expanded on the news that there’ll be a new garden city at Ebbsfleet, Kent, which we see 15,000 homes built. If you’re local, how about badgering the local authorities about including some cycle infrastructure from the ground up? And how many new bike shops will 15,000 homes sustain?

September’s fuel duty rise has been scrapped, which should save cash for distributors (or at least their couriers), but the move has been blasted by Sustrans as a ‘devastating blow’ for sustainable transport.

Sustrans’ head of policy Claire Francis said: “All British families are feeling the crunch but, with oil prices and insurance premiums continuing to soar, fuel duty cuts will not help those locked into poverty by forced car ownership.

“Instead of wasting billions in lost duty revenue, the Chancellor should be looking to the future and investing this revenue in alternatives to the car; like walking, cycling and affordable public transport. Only by providing people with a choice about how they travel and easing fuel dependence will deliver a more resilient economy and a cleaner, healthier Britain.”

National Insurance and investment
JE James Cycles’ partner Mark James spoke to ITN to give his reaction to the changes to National Insurance and annual investment allowances, which has risen to £500,000 for small businesses.

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