The Government has unveiled plans to increase private investment in Britain’s road network, starting with the introduction of a toll for MPs, visiting foreign leaders and other political road-users passing through Downing Street.
‘Much of the road network is blighted by congestion, and Downing Street is no different,’ said the Prime Minister today. ‘It was not built to cope with the volume of lobbyists and newspaper proprietors it now sees, and it is right that people wishing to access the nation’s corridors of power should pay for the privilege. That is the traditional Tory way, after all. Widening the road will be good for everyone – more journalists and camera crews will be able to hang around waiting for resignations, and there will be better access for heavy-goods Ministers such as Eric Pickles.’
The proposals would allow a toll charge to be introduced if private contractors manage to increase the capacity of an already-busy Downing Street. ‘What we want is for more politicians to be able to come and go without getting stuck in tailbacks, particularly at peak periods such as reshuffles and general elections,’ said one firm bidding for the contract. ‘Research shows that British politicians spend an average of eight years of their life stuck in Downing Street traffic jams waiting for political direction, and many are eventually forced into humiliating u-turns.’
Other benefits of the move will include the filling of potholes, such as the one which caused Chris Huhne to stumble and fall recently, and better gritting of the road surface when political handling conditions are forecast to be treacherous. Contractors have also promised to maintain access for fortnightly rubbish collections, though Oliver Letwin has offered to dispose of confidential papers between times in the bins in St James’s Park.
But David Cameron has insisted that the move does not constitute privatisation of the nation’s roads. ‘The state will continue to own Downing Street but its upkeep will be provided by private firms, in much the same way that the Conservative Party is a party for the people but is owned by the banks and the wealthy.’
The Prime Minister went on to compare the plans to improvements made to the water infrastructure which has often seen plentiful supplies of water made freely available to motorists directly from the mains on busy streets right at the height of the rush hour.