A national asset should stay in public hands

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From: Brian Mooney, Fair Deal for the Motorist Campaign, London.

DAVID Cameron is reported as considering options such as road pricing and privatisation, claiming that our roads “need more private investment”.

They don’t. Britain’s drivers pay around £50bn a year in taxes, and under a fifth gets been spent back.

A surplus of something like £400bn has been paid since 1997, so morally investment has been paid for several times in advance. Around £10bn would be enough to tackle the disgrace of potholes, but for some reason, we can’t invest enough in decent roads, whereas we can build roads for other developed countries.

The government department responsible for main roads in England is the Highways Agency. A recent report pushed commercialising it, along with eye-watering perks for management in return for making even more money out of the public. Our roads are a vital national asset and they should stay in public hands – and receive proper investment. Say “No” to this highway robbery.

From: Coun John Hall, Lib Dem, Bradford Metropolitan District Council, Pennithorne Avenue, Shipley.

ILL-INFORMED people are talking of “privatising” roads so that they “can benefit from private investment like the water industry”.

The latter has benefited from higher prices, (which few – if any – can avoid by seeking another supplier), and from borrowing to fund investment. Unnecessary shareholders meanwhile suck out billions of pounds in dividends as a return on their increasingly valuable assets – one more or less guaranteed by Ofwat’s setting of prices. Since buying the monopolies, shareholders have only reinvested “their” profits, (see above), and a little “scrip” or shares in lieu of dividends.

Do the same with roads? ’Scuse me while I leave the country!