Friday, December 12, 2008

Manchester says NO!

Coleridge Conservatives are delighted to read today's news that a referendum in Manchester has voted to reject plans for a congestion charge, with a massive 79% voting against the charge.

The plans were rejected by all 10 boroughs, despite the outrageous Government blackmail attempt of offering £2,800 million pounds of transport improvements, but only if they implement a congestion charging scheme, with the suggestion that nothing will be available for much needed transport improvements without introducing congestion charging. There was also a massively publicly funded publicity campaign to support the yes side, but the people have sent a clear message to the government that they aren't going to be bullied into participating in their flawed social engineering experiment.

Cambridgeshire County Council is facing the same dilemma as Manchester, with the Government's blackmail over transport improvements leading to the TIF bid being considered by a recently appointed transport commission. It is now clear that the public are having none of it, and any charge here will be deeply unpopular with local residents.

Cambridge Conservatives have been consistent in their opposition to congestion charging in Cambridge - it is completely inappropriate for a City of Cambridge's size, and will have a disproportionately damaging effect on lower paid workers commuting into the City who are vital to the local economy. With this firm rejection of the plans by Manchester, Coleridge Conservatives are calling on the County Council to immediately scrap any plans to introduce a charge here.

And to Gordon Brown (and his parliamentary candidates charged with defending his policies at the next election!) we say, if you are listening at to anyone at all any more - people don't want your damaging congestion charging schemes, stop trying to blackmail Cambridgeshire and give us the money we need for transport improvements without string attached, or we won't co-operate on your demands to build thousands of houses. Roll on 2010 when we will have had a chance to get rid of the dreadful bankrupt Labour government and put a stop to all this nonsense.

Manchester residents have sent a clear message to the Government about where they can stick their congestion charge, the County Council in Cambridgeshire should do the same.

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