Thursday, 7 March 2013


No it's not the Severn Bridge!
Towards the end of February, a few Westminster MP’s gathered to back a private members bill which aimed to allow hospital patients free travel (to and from treatment) across a toll bridge across a wide river estuary (it was the Humber Bridge, not the Severn bridge(s)). Patients in northern Lincolnshire have no choice other than to use the Humber Bridge to access medical treatment at hospitals in Hull and East Yorkshire. The Bridge tolls were cut by half in April 2012 by a Westminster Government subsidy, falling from £3 each way for cars to £1.50 per crossing (interesting that a Conservative dominated coalition government can do this for a toll bridge in England but is quite unprepared to even consider attempting to reduce tools on the Severn bridges. Despite the reduction in tolls, local campaigners say cancer sufferers who need regular chemotherapy and radiotherapy sessions are continually being hit by the £3 return toll charge. The proposed private members bill would give the Humber Bridge Board greater financial freedom and may potentially pave the way for toll-free crossings for hospital patients. A bill was introduced to parliament in January, its passage was however delayed after the Tory MP and former Transport Minister Christopher Chope (Christchurch, Dorset) raised an objection in the House of Commons. The Humber Bridge which was opened to traffic in 1981, has often been at the centre of political controversy over the rising cost of tolls, something that has been blamed on the legacy of spiralling debt from its construction. The Humber Bridge Bill has reached the second reading stage in the House of Commons and will to pass through the various stages of parliament over the next six months. So what exactly are those MP's from the South East doing with their time?

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