Weaver Vale MP makes fresh plea in Parliament to axe Mersey tolls

Reporter:

David Triggs

MIKE Amesbury has continued to press for toll-free travel across the Mersey Gateway bridge.

As things stand, only Halton residents are entitled to apply for toll-free travel as part of a local user discount scheme.

But in the run-up to the 2015 General Election, then-Tory chancellor George Osborne had pledged to extend the scheme further afield to West Cheshire and Warrington, only for the Government to later backtrack.

During a debate in the Commons, Weaver Vale MP Mr Amesbury highlighted the disparity between the Mersey Gateway and the Severn Bridge in Wales, where tolls were recently scrapped.

He said: “If providing funding to remove the tolls from the Severn Bridge is good enough for the people of Wales, why not extend such a generous Government offer to the people of Cheshire and Merseyside and do away with the tolls on the Mersey Gateway?”

Alun Cairns, Conservative Secretary of State for Wales, responded: “The tolls on the Severn crossing have been there for more than 50 years, and the Mersey Gateway bridge has very different levels of tolls from those that were levied on the Severn crossing.

“Locals will not have to pay on the Mersey Gateway bridge, other than the £10 administration fee. Locals around the Severn tolls have had to pay the full charge for 50 years.”

Speaking outside the chamber, Labour MP Mr Amesbury added: “The bridge has been open for three months now but I’m still continuing to receive complaints from concerned constituents not only about the cost, but also about fines, so it’s clear this issue isn’t going away.

“I’ve said time and again that this bridge should be paid for by the treasury, and not by motorists.

“The government should stand by its original promise and prove it was a real commitment, and not a cynical pre-election ploy.”

Email:

david.triggs@nwn.co.uk

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