Severn tolls: Conservative election pledge to scrap charges

Severn tolls

Image caption

Congestion at the toll booths has been an issue as well as the cost of the crossing

The Conservatives will scrap the Severn Bridge tolls if they win the general election, Theresa May has said, predicting a £100m economic boost.

The pledge goes further than the existing plan to halve the tolls – currently £6.70 for cars – by 2018.

The Labour Party said which was committed to working with the Welsh Government to end the charges.

First Minister Carwyn Jones welcomed what he described as the “conversion” of the Tories to scrapping the tolls.

The prime minister as well as also Conservative leader said the move would certainly “strengthen links” between south Wales as well as also the west of England.

“I want to ensure which our economic progress can be shared across the United Kingdom,” Mrs May said.

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Media captionCarwyn Jones says the Tories had refused all calls to abolish the tolls for many years

The two crossings will be operated by Highways England when they return to public ownership in 2018. Annual maintenance costs are estimated at around £7m per year.

Several opposing politicians as well as also parties reacted by pointing out they had been campaigning for the abolition of the tolls before the prime minister’s announcement.

inside Senedd, Mr Jones was dismissive, telling AMs: “For how many years have we stood in This specific chamber demanding the end of the Severn Bridge tolls?

“I welcome their conversion yet at the end of the day, let’s face which, the Conservatives would certainly not have abolished the Severn Bridge tolls if which wasn’t for the strong action as well as also strong position taken by This specific Welsh Government.”

A UKIP Wales spokesman said: “This specific can be yet another UKIP policy stolen by Theresa May as well as also the Tories. UKIP has led the debate on This specific topic over the past year inside National Assembly.

“We are encouraged which the various other parties agree with us currently which which can be election time, yet they don’t exactly have a very not bad track record in delivering on their promises.”

Welsh Liberal Democrat leader Mark Williams said: “The tolls on the Severn Bridge are a very real strain on local businesses as well as also hold back the Welsh economy.

“The Liberal Democrats have long made the case for the tolls to be scrapped as well as also currently conveniently, just weeks before an election, Theresa May digs deep to find some not bad-will for Wales.”

A Plaid Cymru spokeswoman said: “The Conservatives trying to coax Welsh voters to support them with promises of a cut to the Severn Bridge toll can be laughable.

“They have spent years prevaricating as well as also had ample opportunity to do This specific, yet they have refused.”

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