The Unite union has called on the government to ringfence money raised from foreign truck operators by the HGV Road User Levy for investment in the UK’s transport infrastructure.

In a transport strategy document published last week, the union suggested any funds raised by the levy, which is due to come into force in April 2014 and is expected to raise £20m a year, should “be put back into improving a safe and sustainable transport infrastructure”.

A statement by the DfT, however, confirmed that funds from the levy will be put into the general tax pool, rather than hypothecated.

Responding to the recent Commons Select Committee report on Vosa, the DfT said the levy, which it has estimated will apply to about 1.5 million trips by foreign vehicles in the UK every year, was “considered a tax” and would be paid into the consolidated fund.

“A remittal of revenues to the consolidated fund allows the government to allocate HGV Levy resources most efficiently,” it said.

A DfT spokesman told that despite the lack of hypothecation, foreign hauliers would still effectively be helping to fund improvements to the UK road infrastructure. “Road maintenance is paid for by the government. Foreign operators are contributing to the maintenance of UK roads, however indirectly,” he said.

Roads privatisation

Unite also condemned growing privatisation of the UK’s road network in its strategy document, including recently announced plans to turn the Highways Agency into a company. "It makes no economic or environmental sense and puts a key part of our infrastructure in the hands of companies seeking profits," it stated.

That has been refuted by transport minister Robert Goodwill, however, who recently insisted in a letter to The Times that there were "no plans to privatise the agency" and stressed that no shares in the new company would be sold or traded to the public.

"This is the most radical efficiency change to the management of our highways in nearly 50 years, generating billions of pounds of savings and providing a better service for motorists," said Goodwill.