What are UK parties pledging to drivers in the 2024 general election?

As the 2024 general election approaches, the major parties are eagerly trying to push their manifestos, but do you know how each party’s promises will affect you as a driver? We know it can be overwhelming to trudge through lengthy manifestos or even trust the politicians themselves (as our recent survey revealed), so we did the hard work for you! 

We’ve pulled together the issues that matter to motorists into a comprehensive guide that could ultimately ‘drive’ your vote.

Major Party Manifestos: 
Do they pledge to focus on the following motorist issues?
  Issue Conservatives Labour Lib Dem SNP Reform UK  Plaid Cymru  Green Party

Cost of car insurance

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Cost of fuel

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Cost of road tax

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Reducing petrol & diesel cars

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Electric vehicles (EVs)

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Public transport

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Roads & infrastructure

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The Conservative Party

Road Investment Strategy

The Conservatives’ transportation manifesto proposes allowing motorcycles to use bus lanes at all times and restricting local authorities from profiting excessively from traffic enforcement.

They also propose a universal parking payment app and a ban on pavement parking, alongside ending the development of new smart motorways and enhancing the safety of existing ones.

Public Transport, ULEZ & 20mph Zones

The Tories are pledging a fund of £36 billion, drawn from savings on the recently scrapped Phase 2 of the HS2 project, to be used across roads, rail, and buses. 

They also plan to reverse the expansion of the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) by the London Mayor and propose local referendums for implementing new 20mph zones and Low Traffic Neighbourhoods (LTNs). 

Additional proposals include:

  • Record £8.3 billion to fix potholes, along with penalties for substandard repairs and delays from roadworks
  • Support for self-driving vehicles, aiming to have them on UK roads by 2026
  • Accelerate Electric Vehicle (EV) adoption through increased charging stations and through the Zero Emission Vehicle Mandate to bolster British manufacturing jobs
  • £12 billion to fund the Northern Powerhouse Rail and £1 billion investment in the North Wales Main Line
  • An extra £8.55 billion for city regions to address local priorities
    £1.75 billion to support the Midlands Rail Hub and £1 billion to develop bus routes and railway infrastructure in the North and Midlands
  • Fly-tipping becomes an offence that incurs penalty points against driving licence.
  • Reopening Beeching lines, boosting rail connectivity in the South West  and stations to reconnect communities

The full Conservative manifesto can be found here.

The Labour Party

Restoring Roads

Labour have pledged that one million potholes across England in each year of the next parliament will be filled. The funding for this will be sourced by postponing the already-delayed A27 bypass project; a project Labour argues "offers poor value for money."

Public Transport

The Labour Party pledges to upgrade and support the Great British Railways. The party will focus on ensuring safe, accessible, reliable, affordable, and high-quality transport through the railway service. Mayors will play a significant role in designing these services within their regions and will promote the growth of rail freight. Additionally, a new passenger watchdog will be created to drive up service standards. 

The party's plan also includes franchising local bus services and prohibiting municipal ownership of buses, granting local communities in England the authority to control bus routes and schedules.

Additional proposals include:

  • Rollouts of EV charge points and supporting buyers of second-hand electric cars through standardising the information supplied on the condition of batteries.
  • Restoring the phase-out date of 2030 for new cars with internal combustion engines
  • Maintaining and renewing the road network, including fixing one million potholes across England in each year of the next parliament
  • Take action against the increasing costs of motor insurance

The full Labour manifesto can be found here.

The Liberal Democrats Party

Electric Vehicle Improvement

The Lib Dems pledge to roll out more EV charging points, including ultra-fast chargers at service stations and residential on-street chargers. They also pledge to cut VAT on public charging by 5% and to have a pay-by-card payment option at all charging points.

Additional proposals include:

  • Investigate the rising prices of car insurance
  • Investigate the rising cost of petrol and diesel for drivers, specifically in rural areas
  • Double the number of areas covered by the Rural Fuel Duty Relief
  • Investigate the lag in price drops at the pumps when the wholesale costs fall
  • Tackle the skills shortage in the motor industry by increasing the number of apprenticeships, increasing pay and the bummer of national college centres for the automotive industry, and expanding the Youth Mobility Scheme
  • Road improvement and maintenance of existing roads, pavements and cycleways
  • Keeping the post office services for drivers (renewing your licence) face-to-face
  • Banning petrol and diesel cars by 2030 and stating every car and small van sold after 2030 will have to be zero-emission
  • Rejoining the European Single Market, reversing Brexit. Although nothing has been confirmed, this switch could benefit car makers who claim that tariffs and regulatory barriers from Brexit have caused additional costs.

The full Lib Dem manifesto can be found here.

The Scottish National Party (SNP)

Commitment to emissions reductions

The SNP plans to reduce car usage by 20% by 2023, aiming to return to the mileage levels of the 1990s. Their emissions goals also include allocating £120 million to phase out the majority of fossil fuel buses in Scotland, replacing them with Zero-Emission Buses. They also hope to decarbonise Scotland’s rail services by 2035.

Public Transport

SNP will allocate nearly £20 billion for their infrastructure program aimed to enhance Scotland's transport network. As part of this budget, they have earmarked £5 billion for rail enhancements including the Aberdeen/Inverness line, the Highland Mainline and the Glasgow Subway. They also promise that Scotrail will transition to public ownership next year.

Additional proposes include:

  • £500 million to be invested to improve bus infrastructure, tackle congestion, and extend free bus travel to all individuals under 22 years old
  • A new Community Bus Fund to support local bus services and allow Local Authorities to explore different service options
  • Collaboration with regional transport to develop new and reinstate old railway branch lines in rural Scotland and commuter lines in urban areas

The full SNP manifesto can be found here.

Reform UK

If elected, in the first 100 days of their appointment, the Reform UK party plans to halt what they are describing as the ‘War on Drivers.’

Ban Low-Emission Legislation & 20mph Zones

The party’s pledge to UK voters includes legislation to ban ULEZ and Low Traffic Neighbourhoods while also aiming to scrap Net Zero policies. This would eliminate the existing bans on petrol and diesel cars and remove the legal requirements for manufacturers to sell electric vehicles. However, they would maintain low-speed limits in critical safety areas (such as outside schools) but propose scrapping 20 MPH zones elsewhere.

Additional proposals include:

  • Accelerating transport infrastructure in coastal regions, Wales, the North, and the Midlands
    Introducing tighter regulations for national infrastructure
  • A new ownership model where 50% of utilities are controlled by British taxpayers and 50% are owned by UK pension funds
  • Establishing a Single Government Infrastructure Funding Stream by merging the National
  • Infrastructure Commission and the Infrastructure Bank
  • Scrapping Net Zero objectives to simplify the funding process

The full Reform UK manifesto can be found here.

Plaid Cymru

Safety And Speed

Plaid Cymru will identify roads with a high number of accidents and work to make them safer. They also support a review of the 20mph speed limit to ensure it’s working successfully in reducing dangerous driving.

Buses And Railways

Plaid Cymru pledges to ensure Wales receives the £4 billion owed from the HS2 project, which would be used to reverse the cuts to local buses and improve all forms of public transport. The Older People’s Bus Pass in Wales would remain and a similar scheme for young people would be investigated to encourage them to use public transport. There would be a statutory duty on public transport companies to guarantee passengers' safety.

Additional proposals include:

  • Making changes to the Rural Fuel Duty Relief Scheme, by taking into account access to local public transport and ensuring it is included. Additionally, they support doubling the relief to 10p per litre
  • Increasing funding to provide financial aid to parents of children who are missing school due to transport issues
  • Rejoin the European Single Market and reverse Brexit. Although not yet confirmed, rejoining the European Single Market could potentially alleviate the additional costs that some car manufacturers attribute to Brexit.

The full Plaid Cymru manifesto can be found here.

The Green Party

Reducing the need for cars

Green MPs advocate shifting the transport system away from cars and roads to address the significant carbon emissions from private vehicle transport. They will reinstate the fuel-duty escalator and introduce road pricing with privacy protections while opposing all new road construction. The party aims to replace all petrol and diesel vehicles with EVs within a decade, supporting this with a vehicle scrappage scheme that would increase funding to £5bn per year by the end of the parliament.

Additional proposals include:

  • Reverse the privatisation of the national railway, promoting affordable fares and rapid electrification
  • The rapid rollout of EV charging points across the country
  • £2.5 billion annually to develop new cycleways and footpaths
  • Ending sales of new petrol and diesel vehicles by 2027 and their use on roads by 2035
  • Making road tax proportional to vehicle weight
  • Implementing a default 20 mph speed limit in all built-up areas to enhance safety for children, the elderly, and disabled individuals
  • Access to bus services in every village, in both urban and rural environments
  • Increasing government support with the transition from diesel and petrol engines
  • Providing more support for firms using heavy goods vehicles to transition away from internal combustion engines

The full Green Party manifesto can be found here.

As the 2024 general election approaches, navigating the various party manifestos and their implications for drivers can seem overwhelming. We hope our breakdown has helped clarify how each party's policies could ‘drive’ your vote, emphasising the importance of being well-informed on issues that matter to you as you head to the polls.