General election: what are the parties promising drivers?

There are almost 35 million drivers in the UK, meaning they have the power to swing the election. We've taken a look at how the policies of the main political parties will affect them...

London Congestion Charge fines rise to £160

There are many important issues for voters in the upcoming General Election, and motoring is one area where there are some significant differences in the views of the different groups. 

Reinstating incentives to get more people to buy electric vehicles, mending potholes and scrapping London’s ultra-low emission zone (ULEZ), are just some of the initiatives that have been proposed in the election manifestos of the political parties in the run up to the 4 July general election. 

Electric cars waiting to charge

There are some gaping divides in the opinions on motoring between the main parties, too, in particular on the banning of petrol and diesel cars in line with the ZEV mandate. The Conservative Party has pushed the ban back to 2035, but Labour would return this to 2030, and the Green Party would go even further, bringing the ban on new internal combustion-engined cars forward to 2027 and completely eradicating them from our roads by 2035. 

Here we round up what the main parties say about motoring in their manifestos. 

Conservative Party

The Conservative manifesto contains more motoring-related promises than any other party. Their main piece of motoring legislation will be the Autonomous Vehicles Act, which will lay down guidelines for the safe use of autonomous vehicles and promote companies that are involved in developing autonomous vehicles. The new law will be introduced sometime in the next five years, before the end of the next Parliament. 

The party is also pledging to help create a nationwide EV charging infrastructure, mainly by increasing the number of rapid public EV charging stations. However, it was responsible for removing the plug-in electric car grant in June 2022, and it has no plans to reinstate the incentive. 

Tesla charging station with Model 3 21-plate

Road improvements are also on the Conservative agenda, with extra funding promised on top of the £40 billion already spent on the strategic road network since 2015. The additional money is expected to cover the cost of building the Lower Thames Crossing and work to improve the A303 and A1 trunk roads.

Support has also been promised for car makers who are facing an onslaught of new Chinese brands into the market, although there is no word on whether they would follow the EU’s lead and impose tariffs on Chinese-built EVs. 

Green Party

The Greens’ focus on climate-friendly policies means it wants the transition to green forms of transport to happen faster than any other party. So it would bring the ZEV mandate back to 2027, and aim to remove all petrol and diesel cars from our roads by 2035. 

To do this it would introduce an extensive vehicle scrappage scheme, with funding rising to £5bn per year by the end of the Parliament, supported by the rapid rollout of EV charging points. There would also be more government support for car owners and small businesses to replace their diesel and petrol cars with EVs.

ULEZ sign

The phasing out of fossil fuels is also a main pillar of its manifesto, and this could lead to an increase in prices for petrol and diesel. 

To make our towns and cities less polluted, it would also introduce more ULEZ zones around the country and make 20mph the default speed limit in built-up areas.  

Labour Party 

The Labour Party has pledged to switch the ZEV mandate back to 2030, stating that it would give car makers more certainty that EV sales would increase. 

There is also a promise to accelerate the roll-out of the public EV charging network

Labour has also pledged to tackle the soaring cost of car insurance, although there is no detail about how this would be done. 

It is also the only party that’s offering support for secondhand electric car buyers by introducing an EV battery health standard that would provide clear information on the condition of batteries. 


There is also a pledge to improve the UK’s road network and fix potholes; the funding for the latter will be funded by scrapping the A27 Arundel bypass, which is deems to be poor value for money. 

To promote industry in the UK, Labour will update planning policy and provide £1.5 billion in funding for new EV battery gigafactory projects.  

It will also spend £500 on green hydrogen manufacturing projects and provide funding for UK research and development, which includes the automotive sector. 

Liberal Democrat Party 

The Lib Dems are making some big promises for EV owners, in particular cutting VAT on public EV charging from 20% to 5%, which is the rate paid by those using home EV chargers

It is also the only party that has said it will bring back the electric car grant to help make it cheaper and easier for people to go electric. 

Like Labour, it would bring the ICE car ban back to 2030. 

As well as supporting the rollout of the public EV charging network, there’s also a promise to upgrade the National Grid and upgrade local grid capacity. 

C5 Aircross public charging

Its commitment to improving the public EV charging infrastructure includes increasing the number of residential on-street points and providing more ultra-fast chargers at service stations. 

It will also make it mandatory for bank card payment to be possible at all public EV charge points.

Improving the road network is also on its agenda, with a focus on giving more money to local councils to maintain roads and cutting red tape around roadworks. 

In a general ambition to stop people being ripped off, it will work to prevent people being charged unfair insurance premiums.   

Plaid Cymru

The Welsh national party doesn’t have any specific manifesto pledges relating to motoring, but it does say it will support a review of the blanket 20mph speed limit so it can be implemented in a more successful way. It also pledges to look at other ways of protecting young drivers, who are statistically more likely to be involved in road accidents. 

It will also look at introducing 20-minute neighbourhoods in all Welsh towns. 

Reform UK

In contrast to the Green party, Reform would abolish the ZEV mandate altogether so there would be no ban on the sale or manufacture of non-electric vehicles. 

More 20mph zones and lower speed limits

It has also pledged to remove all ULEZ schemes and Low Traffic Neighbourhoods and remove all 20mph speed limits, except those close to schools. 

Alongside an increase in the number of police on our streets, it would set up specialist police car theft prevention teams.  

Scottish National Party 

The SNP would go further than the other parties when it comes to VAT on public charging - it would scrap the tax altogether. 

To ease the transition to EVs, it will set up a low income EV car leasing scheme, which would cost £500 million and provide 50,000 EV car leases a year for families on low-income benefits. 

It is also aiming to quadruple the number of public EV chargers in Scotland to 30,000 by 2030. 

Petrol and diesel car owners aren’t forgotten, either with the SNP pledging to look at reforming fuel duty. 

A rollout of 20mph speed limits on appropriate roads in built-up areas is also promised by 2025. 

For all the latest reviews, advice and new car deals, sign up to the What Car? newsletter here

Next: The best electric cars >>