How will the budget affect bikers?

With the chancellor getting out his red briefcase again this spring, Visordown looks at how the latest budget will affect us motorcyclists

How will the budget affect bikers?

WITH a major proportion of the chancellor, Rishi Sunak’s budget being about helping to deal with the C-word (that’s coronavirus by the way), you’d be forgiven for thinking that this weeks budget had very little to do with bikes – but that isn’t the case.

In fact, there is a lot of good news in Mr Sunak’s red briefcase for motorcyclists and all road users alike.

Here are the main points that will affect you, I and all the motorcyclists in the UK.

The most regular activity that you undertake with your bike is filling the thing up with petrol – unless you have a fancy electric bike that is – and fuel duty is being frozen this year, for the tenth year in succession.

Next up, the government is pledging to invest heavily in the UK road network in a few different ways. One of these measures, which will be music to most rider’s ears, is to invest £2.5 billion into fixing the potholes on UK roads. With the mild winters, most of the UK seems to be having, it’d be a good time to start plugging the gaps – literally – and getting the road network back to it being fit for purpose.

£27 billion is being set aside between now and 2025 to help improve some of the region's busiest transport links. The funding will go to both the enhancement and repair of the roads, as well as completely new projects nationwide. The lower Thames Crossing is to be turned into a six-lane tunnel and promises to be one of the biggest UK road projects of the century. There is also a tunnel to be built on the A303, alleviating some of the congestion around Stonehenge. The A66 Trans-Pennine and A46 trunk roads are also on the list to be improved.

Speaking of the improvements, transport secretary, Grant Schapps said:

“If we are to invest £27.4bn over the next five years on our strategic road network, it is crucial that we use this funding to improve the lives of all.

“That’s why a central principle in the development of this strategy was to create a road network that is safe, reliable and efficient for everyone – whether they are cyclists or drivers, passengers or pedestrians”.

The government is also pledging £533 million to extend Plug-in Grants for electric and ultra-low emissions vehicles to 2023. The move may make it a little easier, on the pocket at least, to switch from petrol power to electric-powered motorcycles. With the grant being extended until 2023 and the government setting aside another £500 million to help build fast-charging infrastructure in the UK, the future of electric motorcycles might seem a little easier to swallow in years to come.

The government has also called for evidence into Vehicle Excise Duty (VED aka Road Tax) and it looks like they would consider a move to a freer thinking approach to vehicle road tax. The system in mind and this hasn’t been implemented yet, is what the government are calling a more ‘granular’ system. And would see vehicles producing 129g/kg of carbon paying less than vehicles producing 130g/kg - currently the system bands vehicles together.