Labour Manifesto: 6 promises for drivers

June 13, 2024 by

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Here are the top six promises for drivers in the Labour Party manifesto for 2024 general election.

  • Fix a million potholes
  • Investigate “rip-off” car insurance prices
  • EV charge point expansion
  • Reinstatement of 2030 cut off for petrol and diesel new car sales
  • Standardised labelling for new cars; used EVs to have battery condition monitors
  • EV battery gigafactory funding and R&D investment

Labour is the last of the big political parties to launch its crucial manifesto ahead of the general election on July 4th, and it is arguably the most eagerly anticipated given the Party’s leading place in opinion polls.

Compared to the Conservative and Liberal Democrat manifestos there are fewer specific and detailed policies to attract the votes of drivers or people working in the motor industry, but there are some interesting promises.

Here are the top six things for drivers in the Labour Party manifesto for 2024.

1. Fix a million potholes

The manifesto says: “Cars remain by far the most popular form of transport… our road network is plagued by long-promised projects that are never delivered. The potholes cratering our roads are a visible sign of the decline after 14 years of Conservative rule.”

To fix it, the Party claims: “Labour will maintain and renew our road network, to ensure it serves drivers, cyclists and other road users, remains safe, and tackles congestion.”

Specifically, there is a promise to fix “an additional one million potholes across England in each year of the next parliament”. The funding for this will come from deferring the already-delayed A27 bypass, which Labour claim “is poor value for money.”

This road in West Sussex was planned to bypass the town of Arundel and had an estimated cost of £320 million.

See also
Lib Dem Manifesto: 7 pledges for drivers
Conservative Manifesto: 10 things the Tories are promising drivers

2. Investigate “rip-off” car insurance prices

The manifesto only states that “Labour will further support drivers by tackling the soaring cost of car insurance.” While there is no further detail, this has previously been promised by Shadow Transport Secretary Louise Haigh, who said: “Car insurance is not a luxury but a legal requirement, and it is completely unaffordable for millions of drivers.”

She claims there has been a £219 increase in the average premium in two years and called for transparency from the industry over the cause of the rises.

Haigh also promised to refer the industry to the Financial Conduct and Competition and Markets Authorities, saying: “We will urgently call in the regulators to crack down on any unfair practices and to come clean on the causes of soaring costs for consumers.”

3. EV charge point expansion

Labour says it will: “Support the transition to electric vehicles by accelerating the roll out of charge points.” Although the manifesto doesn’t give any more detail, Labour has previously promised it will accelerate the expansion by removing planning permission requirements, and would: “facilitate the largest upgrade to our national transmission infrastructure in a generation. Expansions to the grid will also allow businesses to install their own charging infrastructure for their fleets more quickly.”

4. Reinstate 2030 ban on new combustion cars

Labour has categorically said it would give “certainty to manufacturers by restoring the phase-out date of 2030 for new cars with internal combustion engines.”

There is no more detail in the manifesto, but the Shadow Secretary of State for Business and Industrial Strategy, Jonathan Reynolds, gave more detail in the Party’s automotive plan published last October: “The decision to water down the 2030 phase out of petrol and diesel vehicles is a huge setback for manufacturers who will have spent enormous amounts of money and time on the basis of these targets.”

The plan also said pushing back the date of the phase out would ultimately raise costs for British families by “billions of pounds”, because “electric vehicles have cheaper lifetime costs than petrol cars, and by 2030 are expected to have lower upfront costs.”

There is no detail on the plans for hybrid cars or vans in the manifesto, but the word “restore” would suggest the criteria scrapped by the Conservative government in September 2023.

5. EV battery condition information standards

Labour says it would seek to boost the market for new and used electric vehicles by adopting a series of labels, similar to those used or planned for other countries.

This is mentioned briefly in the manifesto, saying: “We will inspire consumer confidence and demand by….developing clear battery standards consumers
can understand.”

The party’s Automotive Sector Plan from October 2023 has more detail, saying it would introduce an “Electric Vehicle Confident” labelling requirement on new electric vehicles to give consumers accurate information on the carbon footprint of the vehicle’s production and usage in comparison to a petrol or diesel equivalent. It would also show the real-world range and the expected life of the battery.

Used electric cars would also get a standardised measurement to show battery health, mirroring plans from the EU. The Labour plans say: “more must be done to support a future market of second-hand electric vehicles. Labour believes that assurances of the battery health of used cars is the best driver to stimulate demand so we will implement a standardised battery health certification scheme for used vehicles similar to those already in place in other countries such as Norway.”

6. Funds for EV battery gigafactories and automotive R&D

Labour’s industrial plan says it “will directly invest in ports, hydrogen and industrial clusters in every corner of the country. We will also secure the future of Britain’s automotive and steel industries.”

The manifesto promises it will fund a £1.8 billion upgrade to ports and supply chains across the UK and £1.5 billion to help build new battery gigafactories. It also says it would update national planning policy to ensure it “meets the needs of a modern economy, making it easier to build laboratories, digital infrastructure, and gigafactories.”

The party’s National Wealth Fund commitment would see automotive companies given the R&D funding support currently given to aerospace businesses, with a 10-year commitment and a target of attracting £3 of private investment for every £1 of public money.

See also
Lib Dem Manifesto: 7 pledges for drivers
Conservative Manifesto: 10 things the Tories are promising drivers

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