Former Liberal Democrat Transport Minister Norman Baker has revealed that in 2013 the Conservatives proposed to charge people up to £120 to use main roads including the A30.
This would have been a tax on tourism and the local community, and the plan was stopped by the Liberal Democrats in Government.
Dan Rogerson Liberal Democrat Parliamentary candidate for North Cornwall said today:
“With a £12bn black hole to fill to meet Tory election promises, we know that, just as with their regional pay plans to give public sector workers in Cornwall a pay cut, this proposal will re-emerge after the election should the Conservatives get a majority.
“This was an example of a tax that would have damaged the biggest industry in Cornwall and penalised local residents many of whom don’t have access to good public transport. The proposal was a London-centric idea that shows that the Tories fail to understand the realities of rural life, or the value of tourism and other industries to Cornwall.
“The only way to ensure Cornwall gets a fair deal is to ensure the re-election of Liberal Democrat MPs. We have already demonstrated our commitment to stop measures such as this tax on visitors and communities and will do so again when the Tories try to re-introduce it to fill their financial black hole.”
The original plans were commissioned by the Conservatives in 2013 (pushed by Chancellor George Osborne), as a way of generating extra revenue. They proposed a levy, or ‘vignette system’ where motorists would have been forced to pay to use motorways and major A-roads via a ‘network pass’, which would have been valid for a specific period of time (possibly a year, with the option of a week). The charge for an annual pass would have been around £10 a month - £120 a year.
These plans were commissioned as part of a broader study looking at the future of the roads. The Liberal Democrats blocked them when they saw the detail.
The plans would have included many A-roads, and a new network of cameras with automatic number plate recognition, which would have caught any drivers using the trunk roads without having paid up.
Amongst the A-roads that would have been included was the A30.