In his latest article for Passenger Transport Magazine, Jonathan Bray reports back on last month’s UITP gathering in Montréal which considered bewildering change, and convergence on transit’s role in making better places.
In his latest article for Passenger Transport Magazine, Jonathan Bray asks if spending on transport programmes that focus on influencing the brains of travellers, rather than infrastructure can be effective.
We thought we would share with you our summary of the key 2013 Autumn Statement announcements of relevance to transport and the PTEs.
Transport and local government budgets
For 2014-15, the majority of Whitehall departmental budgets will be cut by 1.1%.
Local government is excluded from this reduction, to help local authorities to freeze council tax in 2014-15 and 2015-16. As such CLG Local Government will see no reduction in its departmental resource budget for the next two years.
DfT will see a £41m cut in its resource budget for 2014-15 and £36m in 2015-16.
The Government is looking at giving local public services the same long-term indicative budgets as departments from the next Spending Review.
The government is inviting proposals for sales and better use of local authority assets as part of growth deals. As an incentive, the government will allow local authorities the flexibility to spend £200 million of receipts from new asset sales on the one-off costs of reforming services.
An additional £90 million over 3 years to improve the energy efficiency of public sector buildings.
£5 million during 2014-15 for a large scale electric vehicle-readiness programme for public sector fleets. The programme aims to promote the adoption of ultra low emission vehicles, demonstrating clear leadership by the public sector to encourage future wide-spread acceptance.
A new webpage on http://www.gov.uk, providing a single source of information on schemes designed to help manage the cost of transport to individuals and households.
A cap on the average increase in regulated rail fares for 2014 in line with RPI. Confirmation that the permitted ‘flex’ above the overall cap on average rail fares will be reduced to 2%. Read Campaign for Better Transport’s reaction.
Confirmation of a trial of flexible rail season ticketing in the South East to benefit those who work flexibly or part-time.
Freeze fuel duty for the remainder of this Parliament.
To incentivise a shift to cleaner, cheaper fuel, commits to maintain the differential between the main rate of fuel duty and the rate for road fuel gases such as Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) and Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) for 10 years. This aims to provide businesses with the certainty they need to invest in alternatively fuelled commercial vehicles.
Measures to encourage the development of driverless cars in the UK, including a review reporting by end 2014 and a prize fund of £10 million for a town or city to develop as a test site for consumer testing of driverless cars.
A guarantee for £8.8 million to help fund the installation of energy saving lighting equipment across a portfolio of NCP car parks.
On the same day, the Government also published ‘The UK insurance growth action plan’ including a commitment by UK insurers to work with partners to deliver at least £25 billion of investment in UK infrastructure over the next 5 years, including but not restricted to projects in the published infrastructure pipeline.
Creation of a £1 billion, 6-year programme to fund infrastructure to unlock new large housing sites (Manchester and Leeds were mentioned specifically). £50 million of this will be earmarked for Local Enterprise Partnership supported bids.
Maintenance of the Local Growth Fund at £2 billion in 2015-16 (including through making £110 million of Regional Growth Fund available for the Local Growth Fund). The Local Growth Fund will be at least £2 billion every year of the next Parliament.
The government will take steps to address delays at every stage of the planning process, incentivise improved performance and reduce costs for developers, including consulting on measures to improve plan making, including introducing a statutory requirement to put a Local Plan in place.