Ahahahahahahaaaaaaaa… have that you lentil crunching arses.

It’s a MASSIVE defeat for the Manchester C-Charge commies.

http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/s/1085031_ccharge_its_no

  Yes % No %
Bolton 21 79
Bury 21 79
Manchester 28 72
Oldham 20 80
Rochdale 22 78
Salford 16 84
Stockport 19 81
Tameside 17 83
Trafford 20 80
Wigan 26 74

Road pricing plans face the axe after Manchester rejects congestion scheme

Road pricing, the Government’s favoured policy for dealing with congestion, has been overwhelmingly rejected in a referendum in Manchester. There is now little chance of any pay-as-you-drive schemes being introduced for at least the next decade.

Manchester’s proposal for peak-time tolls of up to £5 a day was defeated by a majority of 4 to 1, with 79 per cent voting against. The scheme was rejected in separate votes in all 10 Greater Manchester boroughs taking part, in which just over a million people voted out of 1.9million balloted.

Voters were not persuaded by the promise of £1.5 billion of Government money for public transport, and 10,000 extra jobs created by the construction of new tram lines and improved buses and trains.

The result is a severe embarrassment to the Government, which created a £2billion fund dedicated to supporting local charging schemes. The fund is now likely to be reallocated to other projects or will simply become a victim of budget cuts.

Other cities considering similar pricing schemes, including Cambridge, Bristol and Leeds, will be forced to think again and may abandon their plans.

Labour politicians in Manchester, working closely with ministers at the Department for Transport, had tried everything they could to make the congestion charge scheme attractive to the majority.

The charge would not have been introduced until 2013, by which time 80 per cent of the public transport improvements would have been completed. There would also have been discounts for the low-paid and exemptions for parts of the city which would have to wait longer for improved public transport.

Only one in 10 people would have paid the charge and no drivers would have been affected in two thirds of households.

Geoff Hoon, the transport secretary, was last month accused of trying to bully Manchester into accepting congestion charging by stating that it would not get a penny of the £1.5billion if it voted no.

He said: “There is no plan B. I would not want people to be under any illusion about that.”

Asked if Manchester would get even a small proportion of what it needed if it voted no, Mr Hoon said: “None whatsoever. If the vote is no there will be no central Government funding. The rules are very clear.”

Mr Hoon said the money earmarked for Manchester would be given to other cities: “There will be plenty of other cities looking to take up the opportunity if Manchester doesn’t.”

However, road pricing has now been rejected in two referendums organised by Labour-controlled authorities. In Edinburgh, in 2005, 74.4 per cent voted no on a turnout of 61.7 per cent.

The difference there was that the Scottish Executive had already committed to building tram lines and voters knew they would be built even if they rejected charging. In Manchester, the Government attempted to bolster support for a yes vote by making new tram lines directly dependent on a yes vote.

The low response to the referendum indicates that the Labour-controlled councils promoting the scheme failed to persuade many non car-owners and public transport users that it was worth voting.

By contrast, the “no” campaigners succeeded in getting a very large proportion of car-dependent commuters to vote against the scheme.

The Manchester scheme would have been the first to adopt the Government’s favoured approach of using technology to target the drivers who contribute most to congestion. More than 750,000 drivers would have been issued with tags to be read by roadside beacons positioned in two rings around the city. Payments would have been deducted automatically from prepaid accounts, with charges only applying at peak times in the busiest direction of travel. The amount paid would be determined partly by the distance driven. The central London congestion charge is crude by comparison, with a flat rate applying for 11 hours to vehicles which move any distance inside the charging zone.

The yes campaign in Manchester was not helped by last month’s decision by Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, to abolish the western extension of the charging zone.

Sir Neil McIntosh, the returning officer, said 1,033,000 votes were received – a response rate of 53.2 per cent, compared with 54.4 per cent across the region in the last General Election and between 28 per cent and 39 per cent in the last local elections.

The turnout in each of the 10 boroughs was as follows: Bolton, 48.8%; Bury, 57.4%; Manchester, 46.1%; Oldham, 54.4%; Rochdale, 50.8%; Salford, 57%; Stockport, 59%; Tameside, 60.7%; Trafford, 63.6%; Wigan, 45.3%.

The timing of the proposals, which could see drivers paying up to £5 a day – or £1,200 a year – to use the region’s roads, has also been questioned amid the economic downturn.

One ’No’ voter said: “Turkey’s don’t vote for Christmas – and motorists won’t vote for more taxes to drive.”

Best. News. Ever.

AJ

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About Al Jahom
Anti-social malcontent, misanthrope and miserable git.

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