Say ‘NO’ to the Con-Charge (2007-08)

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Tameside Conservatives, Tameside & Greater Manchester have rejected Labour’s CON-Charge proposals.

In the region-wide referendum in December 2008, a massive 79 per cent of voters said ‘NO’ to the proposals.

In Tameside the figure was even higher, with over 84 per cent voting ‘NO’.

Tameside Conservatives say, “Thank you,” to everybody who voted to reject these outrageous plans. 

BACKGROUND

Plans for the con-charge were revealed in the summer of 2007, when the Association of Greater Manchester Authorities (AGMA) unveiled its bid proposals for the Labour Government’s Transport Innovation Fund (TIF).

The TIF bid was hailed as a one-off opportunity for a region to secure upto £1.5bn worth of Government funding for local transport, with one key condition – that the successful region would introduce congestion charging.

It was the ultimate blackmail for the public transport improvements Tameside and Greater Manchester should have had years ago.

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ABOVE: ROB ADLARD & ARDEN BARKER CANVASS SHOPPERS AT THE SNIPE RETAIL PARK, ASHTON.

BELOW: STACEY KNIGHTON MAKES HER VOICE HEARD IN AUDENSHAW. 

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As well as the £1.5bn funding, another £1.2bn would have been raised via a loan to the ten local authorities in Greater Manchester – including Tameside, whose share of the liability would have been a staggering £120m.

The only ways in which the loan could have been repaid were via:

  • Revenue from the CON-Charge; or,
  • Increases in Council Tax.

Having studied the TIF bid in great deal, Tameside Conservatives withdrew their support in July 2007 following the initial public consultation.

Tameside Conservatives believed that the CON-Charge was too great a price to pay for one-off funding that would NOT have benefitted the whole of Tameside.

As a result, Tameside Conservatives fought a desperate 16-month battle against the CON-Charge.

Joined by independent campaign groups, special interest groups, businesses large and small -and eventually by a cross-party group of politicians – their campaign was vidicated in when the proposals were utterly rejected by the electorate on 12th December 2008. 

THE ALTERNATIVE

In supporting the TIF bid, Labour politicians stated there was no viable alternative to the TIF bid and the CON-Charge.

But there is.

We are demanding that the Labour Government finally delivers on the promises it has broken over the last 11 years. Promises such as:

  • The Metrolink ‘Big Bang’ expansion – including the extension to Ashton -nwhich would take 5.9m cars off the roads of Greater Manchester; and,

  • Investment in yellow school buses. Just two years ago, a bid for 160 of these successful buses was snubbed by the Labour Government.

These two investments alone wouldndramatically reduce road congestion in Greater Manchester and Tameside – without the need for the CON-Charge.

Furthermore, investment is on its way that will enhance the local public transport system, irrespective of whether or not the CON-Charge proposals are succesful. Investment is set to follow for:

  • 180 extra railway carriages to eradicate overcrowding on local trains services;

  • ‘Realtime’ digital display timetables; and,

  • Travel smartcards that could be used on buses, trains and trams.

In addition, Tameside is set to receive the long-awaited extension of the Metrolink to Droylsden, and the Ashton Northern by-pass is being built in the next two years to alleviate congestion in Ashton town centre.

PLEASE READ OUR CAMPAIGN LEAFLET:

You can view our CON-Charge leaflet by clicking on the links below:

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