Headlines: September 1st, 2006



British drivers are tired of not knowing what their road taxes pay for and now a leading insurance company wants the Government to reveal how the money is spent in a move to encourage public debate on how it could best be used for the future of motoring.

Direct Line is today publishing the results of its first Drivers’ Referendum, carried out by YouGov, which shows that 92 per cent of motorists want taxes paid by motorists to be spent on roads and transport issues.

The company says that in the 1930s road tax was introduced to pay for building and maintaining roads and today, motorists collectively pay 4.7 billion in this tax, but it is unclear what percentage of that money goes towards what it was originally intended for. The Referendum shows drivers are cynical about this strategy. Thirty-nine per cent feel it is unfair and a further 42 per cent admit to being angered by it. Only three per cent of drivers believe it is a fair system.

Motorists were asked how they would like revenue from road tax to be spent if it were publicly earmarked. More than eight out of ten wanted it to go towards road maintenance. Just over two thirds of those questioned believed roads in their local area were in poor condition and that little was being done about their upkeep. Traffic congestion is another area of contention for three-quarters of drivers who believe that it is getting worse. Just over forty percent of motorists wanted money to go towards improving parking facilities and 29 per cent wanted it to go towards cutting carbon emissions.

Emma Holyer, Direct Line’s Motor spokesperson, said, “Our Drivers’ Referendum shows that British drivers quite rightly want to know exactly how their road tax is being spent. Current levels of cynicism amongst motorists show a lack of trust in Government spending and Direct Line is calling for a clearer outline of how the money is spent – and will be spent in the future.”