It’s nice to see that finally there is a degree of consensus, in relation to the problem of the Severn bridge tolls, even if it took a while to develop. With the Lib Dem’s potentially facing electoral obliteration their pledge to abolish the Severn Bridge tolls should still be welcomed. Their record in Government curbing some of the baser Thatcherite urges of the Conservatives (or not) will I am sure come in for much scrutiny in the countdown to Poling day.
|An unsubsidised toll bridge near us...|
When it comes to the much-disliked Severn Bridge tolls, the often ignored literal elephant in the room is the subsidy that is regularly applied to the Humber Bridge. Samuel Johnson said amongst other things that there is nothing quite like the prospect of being hanged focuses the mind wonderfully. Perhaps the prospect of being hung out to dry electorally has prompted this sudden interest in the Severn Bridge Tolls and their impact on our economy and hard pressed commuters.
When last in office at Westminster, the party formerly known as New Labour chose to quietly (and regularly) subsidise the Humber Bridge tolls, yet, it made no move what so ever towards doing anything about dealing with the tax on jobs, businesses and commuters which are passed off as the Severn bridge tolls. This may go some way to explaining at least to some degree why our local Labour MP’s do little beyond trotting out the same old tired press releases bemoaning the failure of the Government to do anything about the tolls.
What’s Interesting is that the Humber Bridge subsidy has been continued by the Con Dem Coalition Government. This is odd to say the least as this is one of the most ideologically driven governments that we have seen in recent years, having driven the post Thatcherite ‘free market’ ideology into wholly new areas.
Yet, this coalition government has shown no inclination to curb the Humber Bridge state subsidy or offer to help Welsh commuters and businesses out with a simular subsidy. It is worth noting that while in Government, the Lib Dem half of this largely Conservative coalition Government has also shown until now no inclination towards curbing the Severn Bridge Tolls, mitigating their impact or pretty much anything else in relation to the tolls.