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