On his first day as Minister for Transport, Philip Hammond MP vowed to put a halt to Labour’s ‘war on the
motorist’. Hammond promised to end the way the country’s 33 million drivers have been targeted by the government, by reigning in costs at the pump when oil prices rocket, as well as scrapping public funding for speed cameras, reducing the use of clamping firms and reviewing road tolls.
Within hours of taking on the portfolio, he confirmed that the new administration would bring in a “fuel price stabiliser” that would lead to taxes being reduced if the price of oil rose sharply.
“We will end the war on motorists,” said Mr Hammond. “Motoring has got to get greener but the car is not going to go away.” He accused Labour of having targeted motorists with a series of increases in fuel duty and of pushing up the price of cars by linking the cost of the tax disc to a vehicle’s carbon emissions.
Meanwhile the AA has welcomed Philip Hammond’s appointment as transport minister, but says he needs to stay in his post longer than the average 20 months of his 13 predecessors.
Edmund King, AA president said: "We have had 13 transport secretaries in 22 years so on average they have served only about 20 months each. The real problem is that it can take a new Transport Secretary approximately 12 months to get up to speed with their brief.
"Transport is essential for the country and our economy yet in the past it has been a merry-go-round for ministers to hop on and off. We wish Philip Hammond well and hope he stays long enough to sort out our transport problems. Perhaps we need a fixed term Transport Secretary as well as a fixed term parliament."