David Millward, Transport Editor
13 May 2010
Within 24 hours of taking on the portfolio he confirmed the new administration would bring in a “fuel price stabiliser” which would see the taxes reduced if the price of oil rises sharply.
However fuel duties would rise if the cost of petrol and diesel fell.
This, he said, would end the dramatic fluctuations in pump prices which have hit drivers in recent years.
“We will end the war on motorists. Motoring has got to get greener but the car is not going to go away,” he added.
The Labour Government was accused of targeting motorists with a series of increases in fuel duty as well as pushing up the price of cars by linking the cost of the tax disc to a vehicle’s carbon emissions.
However Mr Hammond, who drives a Jaguar, sought to underline the new Government’s motorist-friendly credentials confirming a manifesto pledge that there would be no Whitehall cash for new fixed speed cameras.
He said road safety partnerships would have to pay for new devices out of their own funds, even though the Treasury would still pocket the fines.
The new Government will also press ahead with plans to curb the activities of rogue private clamping firms, Mr Hammond added.
He also confirmed that the new administration would not introduce any form of road pricing.
His pledge represents a victory for the Conservatives in the coalition who opposed pay as you drive charging – while the Liberal Democrats supported it in their manifesto.
However motorists can tolls on new roads could be introduced. But charging would be limited to entirely new projects and would not be introduced on existing motorways, even where they had been widened.
It is likely that these roads will be built by private companies with Mr Hammond saying the new Government would look for other sources of funds for major projects – possibly including high speed rail.
“We are going to have to look at new and innovative ways of funding capital expenditure,” Mr Hammond continued.
However Mr Hammond’s remarks were given a cautious welcome by Edmund King, the AA’s president.
With the Government planning spending cuts and the Liberal Democrats wanting to slash the roads budget, Mr King voiced fears that the Government’s truce may be short-lived.