Responding to the news that Labour Cardiff Council is looking into introducing a ‘London style’ congestion charge, Eluned Parrott, Shadow Minister for Transport, said:
“I don’t think there is a strong demand for this from the people of Cardiff. What we need to see is improved public transport links in our city which can then offer alternatives so people so are less inclined to be using their car.
“The Cardiff Labour party has its priorities completely skewed. Rather than looking at schemes like the congestion charge, they should instead be convincing their colleagues in the Welsh Labour government to reverse decisions such as cuts to bus grants that lead to increases in bus fares.
“Whether it’s Edinburgh or Manchester, whenever referenda have been held on congestion charges, the public have always overwhelming said ‘no’. It’s time the Labour party actually started to listen, rather than trying to ram though changes that the majority don’t want.”
Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrat council Group, Cllr. Judith Woodman commented:
“This is yet another Labour policy that will hit hard working tax payers where it really hurts. Labour doesn’t seem to realise that, following their mismanagement of the economy, people are seriously struggling at the moment. Local businesses need all the support they can get, they certainly don’t need the council scaring off customers by introducing a congestion charge.
“Labour started drawing up plans to introduce a congestion charge in 2004, back then the people of Cardiff overwhelming rejected such plans at the ballot box. Now, only months after returning to office, Labour is once again trying to sneak these unpopular plans in. They kept silent about the idea during the local elections, so it just seems cynical for them to now start trying to push it back on the agenda.”
Dr Bablin Molik, Cardiff South and Penarth Liberal Democrats by-election candidate, added:
“We want to see our public transport improved, not some scheme that might deter people from coming to work and use local businesses in the city. The Labour party are just using this as a mechanism to raise extra money, rather than actually trying to find a solution to a problem.
“There is already a whopping £6 charge to cross the Severn Bridges, it seems absolute madness to then charge commuters further to enter Cardiff. These plans could have a serious detrimental effect on the local economy.”