UK election: What is each party's plan for the future of motoring?

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From banning ICE car sales to cutting insurance prices, these are the automotive policies from the Conservatives, Labour, Lib Dems and more

Reinstating EV incentives, bringing back the 2030 ICE ban, mending potholes and scrapping ULEZ zones are just some of the headline automotive policies put forward by the UK’s political parties ahead of the general election on 4 July.

The Conservatives, Labour, Liberal Democrats and other parties have each positioned the automotive industry and the future of motoring as key pillars in their manifestos, in recognition that changes in this sphere have huge implications for voters’ personal freedoms and the health of the British industrial economy. 

Here, we break down those key vehicle-focused promises.


Cars and motoring are central to the Conservatives’ manifesto, which contains more vehicle-based promises than any other party’s.

Autonomous vehicles

Leader Rishi Sunak says he will table new laws that will allow the mass roll-out of autonomous vehicles. Currently, fully automated driving systems are not legal in the UK. Called the Automated Vehicles Act, it will primarily focus on creating a safety framework for the technology, as well as allowing it to be commercialised.

As for the proposed timeframe, he has only given a loose promise to focus on it “within the next parliament”. Before the election was called, the law was originally pencilled in for 2025, but this is most likely to be pushed back.

Electric cars

The party has promised to support electric car buyers with a “truly nationwide” charging infrastructure, mainly focused on increasing the number of rapid charging sites.

Last year the party pushed back the end of new combustion car sales to 2035, citing the need for extra time to install public EV charging infrastructure and alignment with other major regions, including the EU and Canada.

No incentives have been promised to increase the sales of EVs, despite calls from major manufacturers and trade bodies.

Road improvements

The Conservatives have promised further road improvements if the party gets back into power. This would be on top of the £40 billion spent on “strategic” roads since 2015 and that are planned to continue up to next year.

This promised extra funding includes the construction of the long-mooted Lower Thames Crossing, and work to improve the busy A303 and A1 trunk roads.

Supporting the car industry

The Conservatives have called the car industry the “jewel in our manufacturing crown” and have promised to back it as it faces stiff competition from China.

“We stand ready to support domestic car manufacturers if there is evidence other countries are breaking global trade rules,” it stated. 

Although it is not mentioned in the manifesto, a key consideration for the Conservatives will be whether – if the party wins re-election – it aligns the UK with the EU and imposes stiff tariffs on Chinese-built EVs. Previously, secretary of state for transport Mark Harper promised “robust measures” to tackle their influx.

Sunak has also promised to support car manufacturers transitioning to electric “to safeguard skilled British jobs”. JLR, Mini, Nissan and Vauxhall are the biggest producers of cars in the UK and all have committed to electrifying their respective plants.


Although Labour has not placed quite so heavy a focus on it as the Conservatives, motoring remains one of its key pillars for kick-starting the country’s economic growth.

Reinstate the 2030 ICE ban

Firstly, leader Keir Starmer has pledged to reintroduce the 2030 ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars if Labour wins the 4 July general election. Labour believes bringing it back to the original date would provide “certainty” for car manufacturers.

His pledge follows the Conservatives’ decision to last year push back the date to 2035.

Help EV buyers

Electric car buyers would also be supported, Labour says, by “accelerating the roll-out of charge points”. 

As of May 2024, the UK had 12,249 rapid or ultra-rapid chargers at 5336 sites, according to EV firm Zap-Map.

With an eye on the second-hand EV market, Labour would also introduce a battery health standard, making the information clearer and more understandable.

As with the Conservatives, no buying incentives have been promised.

Creating a modern transport system

Elsewhere, the party has promised major upgrades of Britain’s roads. 

“Rebuilding Britain means modernising our transport infrastructure”, states the Labour manifesto, adding that the network has been “plagued by long-promised projects that are never delivered”. 

It says it will maintain and renew the road network, with a keen eye on potholes – RAC data suggests there are more than one million across the UK. This will be paid for by deferring the Arundel bypass on the A27, which is deemed “poor value for money”.


Labour says it will update national planning policy to make it easier to build EV battery factories, pledging to pump £1.5 billion into new gigafactories projects “so our automotive industry leads the world”.

Some £500 million will also be spent on green hydrogen manufacturing projects, which could indirectly help the automotive industry, especially schemes looking at the future of HGV powertrains.

It has also promised to pump money into the country’s R&D sector, which includes automotive.

Lower insurance costs

The party will also tackle “soaring” car insurance costs, it says, without expanding on how it would do this.

Previously, the Association of British Insurers blamed swingeing increases on a number of factors including the costs of parts, repairs, replacement cars, and a rise in personal injury claims.

Liberal Democrats

For the Liberal Democrats, a key focus is on decarbonising transport in general.

Bring back EV grants

Leader Ed Davey has said the Liberal Democrats would reinstate the electric car grant, axed for good in 2022 following years of incremental cuts. 

This is something none of the other parties has promised. The party wants to make it “cheaper and easier for drivers to switch to electric vehicles”.

Make charging cheaper and easier

As well as this, the Liberal Democrats have promised to “rapidly” increase the roll-out speed and number of charging points by upgrading local grid capacities.

It will also cut VAT on public charging from 20% to 5%, the same rate as home charging. All charging points will also need to accept payment cards. Some are currently accessible only via an app.

Bring back 2030 ICE ban, cut high fuel costs

The Liberal Democrats, like Labour, would bring back the 2030 new ICE car sales ban.

In the meantime, it has promised to protect motorists from “unfair” insurance and high petrol prices. It hasn’t explained how it would do this.

Repair potholes

Davey says the UK’s roads are “in a terrible state, with potholes everywhere”. 

To address this, the party would give more of the roads budget to local councils so they can maintain roads. This would also cut the red tape around roadworks, the party said.

Green Party

Naturally, a key focus for the Green Party is on climate friendly, green policies.

To that end, the party has placed the phasing out of fossil fuels as a main pillar in its manifesto. This includes stopping all new fossil fuel extraction projects in the UK, removing all oil and gas subsidies, and introducing a carbon tax on all fossil fuel imports and domestic extraction.

Although not directly targeting the motoring sector, this will impact pump prices of petrol and diesel.

The party will also target policies that help reduce traffic in residential areas, towns and cities. Expect more ULEZ zones to be created across the country, following London, Bristol and Portsmouth.

Reform UK

Elsewhere, Reform UK has taken a contrasting approach to the Green Party. It promises to “stop the war on motorists”, which includes the banning of all ULEZ zones and Low Traffic Neighbourboods.

It will also scrap the 2030/2035 new ICE car sales ban and the ZEV mandate, which requires manufacturers to sell a certain percentage of electric cars.

Source: Autocar

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