Drivers' Alliance - Manchester congestion charge

Peter Roberts' the founder of the Drivers' Alliance explains why and how it all started.

_________________________________________________________________________ Congestion charging is a tax on using the roads even when we have already paid for them many times over through fuel taxes and VED.

Congestion charging and road pricing will never be an efficient way of collecting revenue as the cost of collection is so very high. See the Telegraph report ‘Capital paid heavy price for congestion charge’ Almost all the revenue was spent on the scheme’s introduction and administration.

Many local authorities were tempted to follow London and introduce charging but a powerful campaign involving the Drivers' Alliance forced a referendum in Manchester wich resulted in 79% of voters rejecting it.

Along with the 74% who voted against a congestion charge in Edinburgh and our 1.8 Million signature petition against road pricing, it is clear that voters can see through the spin and coercion surrounding road charging and reject it at every opportunity.

Today, only Conservative controlled Cambridge council are still actively pushing a congestion charge even though car traffic into the city has fallen significantly over the past few years.

When even the Conservative Shadow Secretary of State for Transport is opposed to charging schemes it seems very odd that Cambridge’s councillors continue to peddle this failed policy idea.

Is a congestion charge good for business?

Business rental values in London fell before and following the introduction of the congestion charge. The annual rise in office rentals went from +7% in 2001 to -12% in 2002 and in 2003 (introduction of charge) they fell again by 16%. In 2004 there was almost no change before resuming growth at about a 7% in 2005. This fall in office property values coincided exactly with the introduction of the London congestion charge.

Source TfL fifth-annual-impact report

The London charge has had a serious affect on businesses with falling revenue and profits and now many companies have called for a reduction in business rates:

‘Since 2004 the Valuation Office Agency has received over 10,000 appeals for alterations to the rateable values of commercial properties in London that cite congestion charging (among other factors).’

Source: TfL fifth CC Monitoring report

The Federation of Small Businesses say’s claims by pro-congestion charge groups that public transport users will be unaffected by the introduction of road pricing aren’t true.

The organisation argues that charging will result in higher transport and wage costs for businesses which will have to be passed onto customers.

“No matter how you travel into a city centre, or at what time, you will ultimately feel it in your pocket. Your sandwich at lunchtime, a new pair of shoes, a night out at the theatre or simply popping out for a drink — the cost is set to rise,” said the organisation’s regional policy manager Paul Henly.

The FSB recently polled 10,000 of its members across Greater Manchester, Merseyside, North Wales, North Staffordshire and South Lancashire and said it found that 87 per cent opposed a charge.

The Drivers’ Alliance was formed in 2008 to lobby against road pricing and congestion charging and will continue to campaign across the country whenever these policies arise.

Please take a look around the rest of our site which we hope you will find of interest

We are a small organisation and our resources are stretched. We’re fighting some big, expensive fights -- for example, supporting local campaigners, lobbying ministers and commissioning important research all cost a lot. But the cost of doing nothing is too great so we must continue.

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