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Thursday, January 01, 2015

Plaid Cymru lacking credibility on Severn Bridge tolls

According to yesterday's Western Mail, Plaid Cymru's latest red herring is that because the UK Government has up to another nine years to recoup its costs on the Severn crossings after they return to public ownership, then that is what they intend to do.

The Plaid Cymru Westminster Transport spokesman has told us that although the crossings are likely to revert to public ownership by 2018, the UK Government still have the right to recoup its costs up until 2027. He says that the UK Government is deliberately keeping its intentions hidden and needs to come clean on its plans after 2018 and whether it intends to keep charging up to 2027 and beyond.  Really?

The MP in question knows full well that this is a decision for the next government, which may not be the same parties and that even if the relevant Minister stood up and gave a firm commitment tomorrow he or she could not bind his or her successors. In other words this is a news story built on shifting sand.

The Liberal Democrats have said that if we are in government in 2018 we will abolish tolls altogether. We clearly cannot do that now because the contract is still in existence and we would have to pay huge sums in compensation to the existing operator. Equally, we cannot commit any other party to that course of action, only ourselves. The commitment is to take the crossings back into public ownership at the relevant time and then to stop charging people to use them.

Which brings us to the big question of what Plaid Cymru's actual position on the Severn Bridge tolls is? They still believe that people should be charged to come into Wales. They do not accept the case that tolls damage the Welsh economy. This latest nonsense from their transport spokesperson is designed to distract us from that position.

Plaid Cymru do not have any credibility whatsoever on this issue.
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