Transport

A faster service

As countries around the world invest in new transport infrastructure, the UK is falling behind. We believe the UK needs to invest in new technologies to update its infrastructure and to ensure we manage the railways properly. This will allow us to connect communities, rural businesses and the UK as a whole.

Railways:

  • England (Department of Transport).

Scrap High Speed Two and Three. We believe that HS2 and HS3 will both cost too much and will not benefit as many people as they could. The replacement for both projects should be an investment in rail infrastructure and in the long term, a hyperloop system.

  • UK (network rail).

Invest in Rail Infrastructure Across the UK. Railways in the UK are already owned by the government through Network Rail. We feel the government should invest more in new tracks and updating existing tracks to increase capacity. We believe this should be done by the government as it results only in longer term benefits rather than the shorter-term returns businesses look for.

There would be two aspects to this plan. First, we would invest in the HSUK plan. This would update existing lines and involve building new faster lines to increase the speed of travel within the UK more widely than HS2 or HS3. The second aspect is for areas outside those of the HSUK route which also need upgrades. This would be funded both through money originally allocated to the HS2 and HS3 projects but that would be saved with HSUK along with extra investment in the rail system funded through taxation. We believe that this should focus on smaller and more rural stations that benefit least from the HSUK plan. This could also include opening stations that have been closed due to railway cutbacks.

Whilst large investments in the railways will mean increased taxation in the short term, they may actually be outweighed by increased trade in the long term. It helps businesses transport goods and will have particular benefit for businesses in rural areas.

  • Wales (Transport for Wales) going to be nationalised, Scotland (Transport Scotland) franchises, Northern Ireland (Department for Infrastructure) nationalised, England (Department for Transport).

A Mixture of Public and Private Providers Running Trains. One of the largest issues with the UK’s train system is the lack of competition which has ended in delayed services, higher prices and poor customer satisfaction. Although we still believe in the government issuing contracts to private companies to run an area of railway, they need to be strengthened.

If a company fails in properly providing the service, then they will be replaced by nationalised trains until a suitable company to run the railways can be found. This should include poor customer service or excessive delays. Secondly, the government should allow charities, community organisations and other organisations to bid to run railways.

This will help both ordinary people and businesses that use the railways as extra competition should drive down fares.

  • UK (network rail).

A Maglev Replacement Scheme. Maglev, or Magnetic Levitation trains, are trains which use magnets to hover and propel trains forwards instead of conventional wheels. This is a proven technology and we would support a rail replacement scheme. To do this, as old conventional tracks become rundown, they will be replaced with new maglev lines.

These would include high speed lines for routes such as the eastern line and low speed maglev lines for shorter routes or inner-city underground routes.

  • UK (network rail).

A Hyperloop Ring Line. Hyperloop uses magnetic levitation to move the train forwards like the kind found in existing maglev trains and places the train inside a reduced vacuum tube. With no friction from the ground or the air around it, this type of train can go at speeds of around 700 mph. Our proposal is that if Hyperloop is shown to be practical, then it should be used as the high-speed element of the UK’s transport system.

The proposed route would be a single track to connect the UK with possible stations in Edinburgh, Newcastle, London, Cardiff and Liverpool with the train then returning to Edinburgh completing a full loop of the UK. It would start only transporting goods around this route and then once the system has been fully tested it would then move to transporting passengers. We also propose large pods to transport as many passengers in one journey as is feasible.

The system has a number of advantages; it would reduce stress on other rail networks, it can run seamlessly with existing railway tracks if extendable rail wheels are mounted on the bottom or trains run straight onto maglev lines, it can be powered using solar power with panels on the top of tubes, being sealed in a tube means trains are protected from bad weather reducing delays, it can be easily assembled in sections off site and the space used for Hyperloop can be minimal as multiple tubes can be stacked on top of each other.

Roads:

  • Wales, Scotland, England, (Northern Ireland?).

Invest in Roads. Extra investment in roads means the government allocating more money for highways England along with extra money for the welsh and Scottish governments which can be used to increase funding for Transport Scotland, the North and mid Wales trunk road agent and the south Wales trunk road agent. This funding should be targeted at rural areas, especially in Wales and the Highlands. It may also be possible for new roads to be white to reflect more heat and to cool the surface temperature during hot weather.

  • UK wide.

Support Self Driving Vehicles. These have several benefits which include reducing mistakes resulting from human error and making longer journeys easier for drivers. This can be alongside the switch in the future to electric cars. Google is already testing self-driving cars and Tesla uses autopilot features in its cars.

  • UK wide, London (Transport for London).

A Mixture of Public and Private Providers Running Buses. If a bus company has low customer satisfaction ratings or have caused excessive delays as a result of that companies fault, then public buses can be run as an alternative option. We should also allow charities, community organisations and other organisations to bid to run bus routes. This would help to create competition between different bus providers. This will drive down fares especially helping students and the elderly who rely on our bus services.

  • UK wide, London (Transport for London),

Support Autonomous Buses. Self-driving buses are more efficient, allow for people to request specific stops and the switch can be alongside a switch to electric buses. This technology is still in early stages although the technology is already being tested in the UK.

  • Only applies in England,

Focus on building new roads rather than smart motorways. Smart motorways sometimes use the hard shoulder for traffic which can cause accidents if cars need to use the hard shoulder in the event of an accident. This would include both ‘all lane running’ systems where the hard shoulder is removed permanently and ‘dynamic hard shoulder’ systems where it is removed when there is heavy traffic. However, this does not apply to ‘controlled motorway’ schemes which do not use the hard shoulder.

Social security:

We believe that the main issue with the UK’s social security system is its complexity. Therefore, this plan seeks to simplify the system to ensure more people who need help from the government receive it. It creates a level below which no one can fall whilst also reducing the costs the existing system spends on administration.

  • Northern Ireland, Scotland and the UK,

A Minimum Income. A minimum income guarantees that anyone out of work or on a low income will receive enough money to live above the poverty line. If you start to earn money from a part time job or one that pays below a living wage, the minimum income will decrease until you are earning a living wage. This means work will always pay more than being on benefits unless you are receiving extra support. The payment itself would be made once per week and would increase during periods of cold weather to pay for heating bills. If possible, we support these payments being decided on a regional level, so payments keep up with the living costs in different areas.

This will be available to anyone earning below a living wage, who is over 18 years of age and has below a certain amount in savings. The payments will increase with inflation and there are several circumstances in which the payments will be larger. They need to cover any training, job interviews or travel for NHS treatment people need.

A Minimum Income is a simple system that would streamline social security. It would replace Universal Credit system, housing benefits, jobseekers’ allowance, Income Support, the Cold Weather Payment, the Warm Home Discount Scheme and the Winter Fuel Payment.

A series of top-up systems:

  • UK wide.

The Parental Leave top-up. If you have children, the top-up will work so it is either added to statutory paternity pay given to you by your employer or your minimum income so it pays a living wage. This will last a year in total although the person giving birth to the child will have an extra 4 weeks off before the child is born. This will be at 90% of normal pay, 25% of which will be paid by the employer and 75% of which will be paid by the government. It will be split between partners with both partners having to take at least 30% of the total time with the rest being split however they want. The first payment will be larger to deal with the initial costs of having a child and after that payments will increase with inflation. They will then reduce as the child gets older and allows for part time parental leave. For those that are on a minimum income, after the year comes to an end they will receive a smaller payment at the same rate as child benefits for the next 5 years. This would replace statutory paternity pay, statutory Shared Parental Pay, paternity leave, shared parental leave, child benefits, maternity pay and maternity allowance.

  • UK wide.

Retirement top-up. The retirement age would be set at 65 for both men and women. When you reach this age, you would receive payments from income tax contributions. Savings made into the Income Tax will be increased with the triple lock formula although private pension funds would be an alternative to this. This would replace the basic state pension and pension credit.

  • Scotland, Northern Ireland and the UK.

Carers top-up. If you are a carer, then you will be able to receive a Negative Income Tax. This will supplement either your wage or an unemployment Negative Income Tax. This is regardless of age and for any period whilst you are a caregiver. It will top up wages minus costs incurred as a career, so you reach a living wage. This would replace the Carer’s Allowance.

  • Northern Ireland and the UK.

Bereavement top-up. If a member of your immediate family dies, then you will be able to take Bereavement leave with a Negative Income Tax for four weeks. There are no maximum savings or earnings to receive this. This will increase with inflation. This would replace the bereavement support payment.

  • Northern Ireland, Scotland, and the UK.

Disability top-up. If someone is unable to work due to disability, then they can receive a Negative Income Tax. This would include a living wage payment for those out of work as a result of injury or disability with payments for those with extra requirements such as equipment or individual carers on top of this if needed. This would also be available to people who are self-employed and are unwell. There is no time or age limit for how long someone can receive this payment and the individual, or if need be a guardian, will receive the money. We would also link NHS services to this program to ensure those who need help receive it. It would replace the disability living allowance, the personal independence payment, incapacity benefit, Attendance Allowance and the Employment Support Allowance.

  • Whole UK.

Replace the Department for Work and Pensions with a Department for Social Security. The department of work and pensions will be replaced with the smaller department for social security as a Minimum Income means less administrative work.