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Road pricing should not be a ‘post-covid cash cow’, says IEA expert

Professor Philip Booth responds to road pricing proposals

Responding to reports that the Treasury is considering a new national road pricing scheme, IEA Senior Academic Fellow Professor Philip Booth said:

“The Treasury is right to examine nationwide road pricing, something which should have been introduced when the Smeed Report recommended it in 1964. However, it is important that road pricing properly reflects the cost of road use and varies with the amount of congestion at any particular time: at some points in the day, the correct price for road use is zero.

“It is also important, if road pricing is introduced, that the opportunity is used to encourage the building of roads by private providers and, indeed, that the privatisation of existing roads is considered.

“It is vital that the Treasury uses road pricing to ensure that road space is better used, congestion reduced and more roads are provided. It should not be a post-covid cash cow.”

Notes to editors

For media enquiries, please contact Emily Carver, Head of Media, on 07715942731 or

Professor Philip Booth is available for interview and further comment.

For further IEA reading on road pricing, click here.

The mission of the Institute of Economic Affairs is to improve understanding of the fundamental institutions of a free society by analysing and expounding the role of markets in solving economic and social problems. The IEA is a registered educational charity and independent of all political parties.

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