A bittersweet victory for the 'No' campaign



It was announced this afternoon that the people of Greater Manchester voted in force against the proposed congestion charge, with the 53.2% (1,030,000) turnout voting overwhelmingly against this additional road tax.


No less than 79% of those who voted wanted to reject the charge, and no more than 28% voted ‘yes’ in one any local authority area. This landslide victory marks the death of the Manchester TIF bid and has hopefully discouraged other areas  -  not least the West Midlands councils -  from further pursuing this unpopular scheme.


The breakdown:
                    For  Against
Bolton           21%  79%
Bury              21%  79%
Manchester   28%  72%
Oldham         20%  80%
Rochdale       22%  78%
Salford          16%  84%
Stockport      19%  81%
Tameside      17%  83%
Trafford        20%  80%
Wigan           26%  74%


Yet, though our congratulations go out to the ‘No’ campaign, it is worth noting that this is a very bittersweet victory with huge amounts already having been spent on a project that was disliked from its inception. Though families in Greater Manchester will no longer have to pay the hefty £1,200 per year that a congestion charge would mean, a startling £34million has already been spent consulting, debating, drawing-up and promoting the TIF bid according to the Drivers’ Alliance, all funded by ordinary taxpayers. It just makes it worse that the very residents who’ve paid for this road pricing ambition seem to have been dead against it from the start, and in the end this £34million bought  218,860 ‘yes’ votes – that’s £155 each.


This money has been frittered away by those with a blind commitment to the congestion charge, encouraged by those who stood to benefit. Perhaps, at this very moment the proponents of road charging are busy wondering how to bring its spectre back to life – with a different guise and new spin – and, if they manage a successful resuscitation, let’s hope our councils recognise it for what it is and remember this Manchester vote. 


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