Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Lib Dems on the Road towards a Congestion Charge

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Lib Dems on the Road towards a Congestion Charge

Article excerpt

Byline: Jonathan Walker Political Editor

ROAD pricing could be introduced to cities and major towns across the country under plans backed by Liberal Democrats at their annual conference. Nick Clegg's party began the process of putting together the party's next General Election manifesto as delegates met in Glasgow.

And they backed plans to cut carbon emissions by introducing road pricing in congested areas.

Liberal Democrat ministers in a future government would push for local authorities to introduce a "revenue-neutral system of road pricing" - with the cash raised from motorists ploughed back into the transport network.

At the same time, they would support restrictions calling for a ban on all cars except ultra-low carbon vehicles.

Tyne and Wear authorities have considered - and rejected - proposals to bring in road pricing before. The idea was scrapped in 2008 when Newcastle City Council ruled road pricing out, despite the promise of millions of pounds in Government funding to improve public transport if they introduced fees for drivers.

As the conference continues today, Liberal Democrats are expected to demand an immediate review today of the bedroom tax, which has hit 50,000 housing benefit claimants across the North East.

Delegates from Berwick, Northumberland, will lead criticism of the controversial policy when they propose a motion demanding an evaluation of how much money is being saved - and whether homes with spare rooms really are being freed up for families to use.

Conservatives claim the policy, which cuts housing benefit for people in social housing who have spare rooms, is designed to free up housing for families who need larger properties.

But critics say it is causing hardship for some of the most vulnerable people.

Berwick activist Julie Porksen will propose the motion demanding a review, which is likely to be approved by delegates. …

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