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Labour considering New Social Contract for Transport – January 2019

Labour  has invited a senior transport expert to lead development of a New  Social Contract for Transport for the UK. The party thinks the time is  right to consider what the deal should be between the electorate and the  next elected government to best ensure that the transport network is  managed in the public interest.

Shadow  Transport Secretary Andy McDonald has asked Professor Phil Goodwin to  carry out an investigation of which key elements are necessary to build a  social contract for transport which would be fair to all transport  users, all other beneficiaries of transport and to all tax payers.

McDonald  has asked Professor Goodwin to look at who benefits from transport  provision, including indirect beneficiaries, as well as travellers  themselves, and to draw conclusions about which elements of transport  provision should be charged for, and how it should be funded. 

The  move follows Labour’s pledge to fund free bus travel for under 25s,  support for public ownership of rail and wider aspirations to achieve an  economically, environmentally and socially sustainable transport  system. 

Shadow  Transport Secretary Andy McDonald said, ‘The social contract on  transport has completely collapsed under the Conservatives with soaring  fares for bus and rail passengers alongside huge cuts to investment in  road maintenance, railways and bus services.’ 

He  added ‘Britain needs some widescreen thinking on transport, so that’s  why Labour wants to agree a New Social Contract for Transport. We want  to create a public transport system which is affordable and increases  mobility. A transport system for the many and not just the few.’

He  concluded ‘A glance at recent events in France shows the dangers of a  breakdown in faith and trust between the government and public on  transport spending. Professor Goodwin will advise how  a new contract  for transport in the UK can work to restore accountability and  transparency as well as building public consensus on how to provide  better opportunities for sustainable transport across every region of  the country.’

Professor  Phil Goodwin said ‘It’s important that a Parliamentrary Opposition  should have access to independent professional advice, just as  Governments do. I’m very pleased to tackle this challenging topic. It  seems to me that the idea of a New Social Contract for Transport could  be a very powerful tool for considering the fundamental  changes in how  people travel and use communications technology. I will need to look at  the best expertise and best practice from around the world, and discuss  what is the right deal between the government and the electorate to  deliver a sustainable and equitable transport system fit for the 21st century. It will be an open, independent study, and evidence will be welcome from all.’


Notes to Editors 

Professor  Phil Goodwin is Emeritus Professor at University of West of England  UWE, and at University College London UCL. . He was formerly Director of  the transport research groups at Oxford University and UCL, where he led  the  ESRC-supported designated centre of excellence in a ten year programme  on ‘Changing Travel Behaviour’. He has been a transport planner in the  GLC, a Non-Executive Director of the Port of Dover, and an advisor to  local, national and international government agencies, including the  Standing Advisory Committee on Trunk Road Appraisal (SACTRA) 1990-1999  and the advisory panel on the 1998 Transport White Paper, which he  chaired.  Phil has served as Editor in Chief of two leading  international academic journals: Transport Policy, which he founded, and Transportation Research, Policy and Practice.

Objectives of  Study

1.  Consider the elements necessary to build a “New Social Contract for  Transport” that would be fair to all transport users, all other  beneficiaries of transport and to all tax payers. 

2.  In particular, consider who benefits from transport provision,  including indirect beneficiaries as well as travellers themselves, and  draw conclusions about the degree to which elements of transport  provision should be charged for, if at all, and the best balance of  funding from users, passengers, companies, taxpayers and other  stakeholders, in order to provide transport provision that is  economically, socially and environmentally sustainable in the long term.  

3.  Focus on the transport taxation and spending options  necessary to  simultaneously: retain essential income from transport users; generate  income from other non-user beneficiaries of the transport system; align  transport spending with climate change objectives; align transport  spending with local pollution objectives; align transport spending with  public health active travel objectives; align transport spending with  regeneration/development objectives to create attractive, efficient,  liveable cities; align transport spending with achieving growth to  housing provision in ways that reduce car dependency. 

4. Consider a wide range of experience of transport strategy, funding and spending from around the world

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