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Thursday, June 4, 1998 Published at 11:30 GMT 12:30 UK


UK Politics

'Crunch time' on integrated transport



The Liberal Democrats have published their own version of the government's delayed White Paper on an integrated transport policy.

The document, A Nation On The Move, includes proposals to:

  • Reduce car tax to 10 from the current 150 on all cars up to 1600cc;

  • Make up the resultant loss in revenue by increasing the price of a litre of petrol by under 4p;

  • Set up a new strategic transport authority, which would provide tougher regulation for the railways and buses;

  • Guarantee money for local transport packages, including cycle and bus lanes and safe routes to schools;

  • Launch a national road improvement campaign through local authorities to tackle potholes and poor quality road environments.

    "Battle over policy"

    The government White Paper was originally due out in the Spring, then put back to mid-June and is now scheduled for publication at the end of the month.

    Lib Dem transport spokesman Matthew Taylor said this was evidence that Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott, who is in charge of integrated transport policy, was engaged in a struggle with the prime minister's advisers on how radical the government's proposals should be.

    Mr Taylor said he hoped the battle over measures to reduce car use would be won by Mr Prescott as it was "time to break the tyranny of the motor car in towns and city centres".

    At the moment, however, he said he had heard that the White Paper would be "rather long on options and rather short on specifics".

    Mr Taylor said that this was "crunch time" for the government and the White Paper would show "how serious they are about transport".



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