The Conservative Party has insisted that investment in Britain's road network will be "the big thing that will decide our country’s future".

Transport minister Patrick McLoughlin said yesterday (30 September) at the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester that the government had already committed £9.2bn to local councils to fix issues such as potholes, problem roundabouts and slip-roads and was looking to do more.

Earlier this week the Department for Transport said it would make a further £80m of funding available to tackle road congestion.

"Don’t let anyone dare tell you we’re starving our existing transport network in order to feed bigger projects. This summer the chancellor agreed a long-term settlement for transport investment of more than £70bn, including tripling the budget for major road schemes," he said.

But he acknowledged underinvestment in the UK’s road network for many years and said that it would not be fixed in just one parliament.

patrick mcloughlin mp

McLoughlin (pictured left) also reiterated the government’s plans, originally revealed in June, to give the Highways Agency its independence by making it a publicly owned corporation, as well as bringing forward to launch of the HGV Road User Levy for foreign lorries from 2015 to April 2014.

Transport matters "as it’s never mattered before", he added, highlighting the importance of investment to keep the UK on a level playing field with other countries, or risk losing jobs abroad. "So that the UK can compete, and win against world competition, that is our task - and we’re up to it."




  • Speaking exclusively to Freight Transport Association chief executive Theo de Pencier at the Conservative Party Conference, asked if the current government really did understand the needs of the road transport sector. "The current government has been, to their credit, willing to listen from day one. But I think that all the major parties now get it that transport is critical to the UK economy's health, and for the standard of living that all of us enjoy."