Speaking in the House of Commons last week, Tory transport spokesman Chris Grayling MP said the government’s poor track record with IT projects meant that keeping track of 28 million cars would prove beyond them.
He said: ‘It would probably be the biggest IT project this country has ever seen – tracking every car on every road for 24 hours a day, collecting the data, processing it, issuing a bill and collecting the money. As we have noticed, the Government has not had triumphant success in running major IT projects, so this would certainly be a bridge too far.’
Grayling claims the government is taking the wrong approach in trying to cut congestion and should instead be doing more to promote alternative, greener technology – a strategy the Tories would follow.
He said: ‘When I am Secretary of State for Transport, I intend to pursue a policy of transforming the technology in our cars by incentivising the purchase of green cars, instead of doing what this Government has done – scrapping the incentives to purchase such cars.
‘Road-pricing schemes are primarily about managing congestion. People are not going to give up driving their cars, even with some form of road pricing – we have to change the nature of the technology in our cars.’
‘The Government are also missing another essential element of any road-pricing strategy. They cannot take steps to price people off the roads without giving them better choices and alternatives. It is simply not good enough to say that people need to change their working patterns to avoid paying more.’
Grayling savaged the government’s record on transport, saying they had ‘commissioned plan after plan, study after study and consultancy project after consultancy project, all in the classic ‘Yes, Minister’ tradition of being seen to be doing something without actually doing anything at all.’