Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Freight Transport Association Condemn Selective Government Funding

Grants for Humber bridge angers Welsh members
Shipping News Feature

UK – A leading UK trade body, the Freight Transport Association (FTA), has accused the British government of hypocrisy due to a recent decision announced by Transport Minister Sadiq Khan that £6million was to be granted to the Humber Bridge Company whilst proposed reforms for the Severn Crossing have been ignored.

Toll levels on the Humber crossing were frozen in July which stimulated the FTA in August to call for parity in policy for the two bridges. The FTA believes that the grant announcement further highlights the difference in the way regions are treated by the government.

Ian Gallagher, FTA’s Policy Manager for Wales, said:

“Many companies operating across the Anglo-Welsh border are racking up tens of thousands of pounds in tolls each year. The Government’s commitment to reducing business costs is welcome, but it has to be applied across the board. The recession is not discriminating by region, and neither should the Government.

“The irony is that the Severn Crossing will probably be paid off well ahead of schedule,thanks in part to the popularity of the Millennium Stadium, so there really is no excuse for hiking up toll prices year in year out, especially during an exceptionally testing recession.”

The accusation is further compounded by the recent reports concerning plans to sell the Dartford Thames crossing just outside of London.

Calls to reduce or scrap tolls at the bridge / tunnel crossing have been glossed over despite evidence that such a move could very well radically improve a chronically congested area of the UK’s road infrastructure, something the government states it is committed to, yet it has announced alternative plans to instead sell off the crossing to a private investor.