Mark Hunter joins cross-party alliance to 'Stop the Charge

October 27, 2008 12:11 PM
Stockport Lib Dems Dave Goddard, Mark Hunter, and Andrew Stunell

Council Leader Dave Goddard, Mark Hunter MP and Andrew Stunell MP are all campaigning to Stop the Charge

Mark Hunter, Liberal Democrat MP for Cheadle, has joined a cross-party coalition of Greater Manchester MPs, council leaders and 259 businesses to campaign for a No Vote in December's referendum on the Transport Innovation Fund (TIF) and congestion charge proposals.

Mr Hunter, alongside fellow Lib Dems Andrew Stunell MP and SMBC leader Dave Goddard, joined with MPs for Worsley, Denton and Reddish, Manchester Blackley, Middleton and Heywood, and business alliance Greater Manchester Momentum Group* to form the Stop the Charge coalition.

The coalition supports AGMA's (Association of Greater Manchester Authorities) goal of promoting the growth and prosperity of Greater Manchester, but believes the current TIF plans, including a congestion charge, unfairly penalise employees and constituents.

MP, Mark Hunter, said: "Everybody in our area knows we need to do something to combat congestion on the roads - but this congestion charge is not the answer. Many local people will be asked to pay £100 a month just to get to and from work every day, without getting any real improvement to public transport."

"I can see why some residents in the centre of Manchester might like the plans - they get all of the benefits, with none of the cost -in the Stockport area we get all of the costs and very little benefit!"

"At a time when many people are having to tighten their belts, I will not stand by and let them be saddled with such a huge additional cost, especially before our area is given any hope of seeing much needed transport improvements like the extension of Metrolink or the completion of the A555 Relief Road."

A coalition spokesman said: "The TIF scheme is deeply flawed; there are more effective ways of funding transport improvements than through ill-conceived congestion charge proposals with knock on effects for the whole economy. We must explore every alternative before agreeing on a scheme which mortgages the future of Greater Manchester."

The coalition will now campaign for a NO vote in the run-up to the Greater Manchester-wide postal referendum which closes on the 11th December. Postal ballot papers will be issued at the end of November.

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