Lib Dem Manifesto: 7 pledges for drivers

June 11, 2024 by

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The Liberal Democrats have launched their election manifesto, titled ‘For A Fair Deal’, ahead of the general election on July 4th. Carwow teases out what it means for drivers.

  • Lib Dems say they would provide more EV charging points while cutting VAT on charge costs
  • Manifesto commitment to protect motorists from “rip-off” insurance and petrol prices
  • Tackle skills shortage in the motor trade
  • 2030 cut off for petrol and diesel new car sales would be reinstated
  • DVLA services at Post Offices to be kept
  • Car and component imports from parts of China could be banned
  • Rejoin Single Market and boost apprentices to help UK car industry

Although the polls suggest the Liberal Democrats are extremely unlikely to take overall control of the country, there is a chance it could find itself in a coalition with another party, such as happened in 2010. This would see some of its policies passed by the government as part of the agreement.

Here are the seven policies we found in the latest ‘For A Fair Deal’ manifesto, which promise to help drivers if the Liberal Democrats were elected.

1. EV charging

The Lib Dems want to make it easy and cheap to charge EVs by rolling out far more charging points, including residential on-street points and ultra-fast chargers at service stations.

The Lib Dems want to upgrade the charging infrastructure

They have put no target numbers on this promise but say this would be helped by: “supporting new charging points with an upgraded National Grid and a step-change in local grid capacity.”

The bottleneck in getting infrastructure connected to supply has been a continuing frustration for charge point operators.

The Liberal Democrat manifesto has also promised to cut the VAT on public charging to 5%, mirroring the levy on domestic energy supplies. This policy has been suggested by countless industry figures over several years as it would make running an EV more affordable for drivers who do not have off-street parking and have to rely on public charge points.

Finally, the Lib Dems say they would require “all charging points to be accessible with a bank card”. There is no further detail provided but there is already legislation in place which will cover all chargers of 50kW and above and newly installed points above 8kW from the end of November 2024.

2. Car insurance and petrol price ‘rip offs’

The Lib Dems say they would investigate the “unfair” price of car insurance and petrol to help out motorists. The insurance price probe promise appears to mirror the Labour Party’s pledge to scrutinise the soaring cost of premiums, which have risen by an average of £219 in the last two years.

There would also be an investigation into the high cost of fuel, focussing on the lag in price drops at the pumps when wholesale costs fall.

The manifesto also promises to lower the price of petrol and diesel for drivers in rural areas by doubling the number of areas covered by Rural Fuel Duty Relief. This currently gives a rebate of 5p per litre to filling stations in remote areas. It’s designed to offset the higher transport costs from the refinery and relatively low sales of small filling stations, which exclude them from getting bulk discounts on supplies.

See also
Conservative Manifesto: 10 things the Tories are promising drivers

Lib Dem Manifesto: 7 pledges for drivers

3. Tackle skill shortage in motor trades

Pass any garage and you will inevitably see a sign asking for technicians, and nearly half of UK automotive companies are concerned about skills shortages in key roles, according to a survey by the Society for Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

Lib Dems aim to plug skills shortage in the motor trade

The Lib Dems aim to tackle this with a series of measures which will boost the supply of workers into the motor industry. For those at the start of their careers, the manifesto promises to increase the take-up of apprenticeships, with policies which include guaranteeing they are paid at least the National Minimum Wage.

The party would also develop National Colleges as centres of expertise for key sectors, such as automotive to deliver skills that businesses need.

To tackle the issue of skilled foreign workers such as vehicle technicians returning to their home countries after Brexit, the manifesto says the Lib Dems would: “Fix the work visa system and expand the Youth Mobility Scheme to help address the labour shortages that are an outcome of the Conservatives’ botched deal with Europe.”

4. Reinstate the 2030 ICE cut-off

The current Conservative government back-pedalled on a previous commitment to ban the sale of petrol and diesel powered cars, postponing it from 2030 until 2035.

The Liberal Democrats promise that they will reinstate the ban and appear to take it further, saying every new car and small van sold from 2030 will need to be zero-emission. The previous requirements had a later 2035 cut off for Plug-in Hybrids, which are not considered as Zero-Emission.

This forms part of a commitment to cutting greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2045 at the latest, “both to cut energy bills and to deliver energy security”.

5. Keep Post Office services for drivers

For decades drivers have been accessing DVLA services at their local Post Office, enabling them to renew licences, buy road tax and make applications face-to-face. This service has been threatened in recent years as more transactions have moved online, and the current contract with the Post Office is due to expire in April 2025. The Lib Dems have promised to keep the DVLA services available at Post Office counters so drivers can continue to pay by cash and get advice from staff.

6. Banning Chinese imports

The Lib Dems have promised to ban imports from areas of China “with egregious abuses, such as Xinjiang”. This might seem of limited interest to drivers in the UK until closer inspection. Recent reports from The Washington Post suggest car makers including Tesla, Ford and Volkswagen may have links to suppliers in the area and a ban could affect supplies.

7. Rejoin the Single Market

Finally, the most controversial policy promise is to seek a way in which the UK could rejoin the European Single Market. This would essentially reverse Brexit and allow the free movement of goods and people between EU countries and Britain. This would be welcomed by car makers who have said Brexit has caused them additional costs and pushed up the price of cars.

The manifesto says: “Once ties of trust and friendship have been renewed, and the damage the Conservatives have caused to trade between the UK and EU has begun to be repaired, we would aim to place the UK-EU relationship on a more formal and stable footing by seeking to join the Single Market.”

See also
Conservative Manifesto: 10 things the Tories are promising drivers

Lib Dem Manifesto: 7 pledges for drivers

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