« Technical update | Main | Populus put Conservatives 20% ahead »


Labour didn't listen to the people on 10p until too late, and the people of Crewe knew a bribe when they saw it. They haven't listened on the C-charge, which has already cost the Chairman of the Greater Manchester Passenger Transport Authority, a former Labour Council in Salford, his seat!

The C-charge in Greater Manchester will create a ring of blue seats around the city and Labour MPs in constituencies such as the new Worsley & Eccles South (notional maj 7,787) should be very worried now.

"World-class" eh? Sounds like the shambles that a once-great University of the city has become.

Re polyclinics - look for results of a petition, organised by BMA, conducted by all surgeries over the past 2 weeks. Expected to show a huge number opposed to polyclinics.

Unlike the London scheme, this covers a substantial proportion of Greater Manchester, not just the central zone but stretching into areas well beyond the centre.

Plus the Manchester tramlink is good, but nothing like the scale of the London underground.

Manchester is not London, and this scheme is not sensible or fair.

I understand that Bolton is to have a referendum over this matter. It will be interesting to see how that comes out.

In general though the idea that commuters will have to pay £5 per day to drive to work is hardly going to be a vote winner in the constituencies around Manchester. If implemented with a bit of luck it may see some of the following losing their seats (amongst others):

Ruth Kelly
Beverley Hughes
James Purnell
Ivan Lewis
Michael Meacher
Phil Woolas

In fact could it be the catalyst for Portillo 97' style defeats for Hazel Blears and/ or Andrew Burnham?

The whole Metrolink system is based around replacing decent heavy rail systems with unreliable trams. It's not particularly safe and the ride is unpleasant. I for one avoid it, even on short rides - I'd rather travel further and take the train.

May I note that Conservative Bury, Conservative Trafford and Lib Dem Stockport are already opposing the bid. Labour Bolton have promised a referendum which (as Bolton gets little out of the bid) they will, I expect, lose badly, and thus lose the majority they need.

Rumours already surfacing that they'll go ahead regardless, but that's not really possible as Trafford borders the City Centre...

We have to fight this and if we lose for now we HAVE to promise that a Conservative Govt. WILL reverse it.

Alex Fisher - you big girl's blouse. The metrolink unsafe? Grow up. Thousands of people use it everyday (like me) and it works fine.

The whole point of this congestion charge is that it creates £3bn of funding for public transport improvements including a massive expansion in the Metrolink network.

So no, this won't be a winner for the Tories. The only people who will be angry at Labour will be those who don't vote Labour anyway.

At the May elections everyone knew this was coming, yet surprise surprise Labour won in Manchester. There's no reason why this won't continue.

It sounds like an eminently sensible conservative policy to me.

Did you really have to put a picture of the divine Ms Villiers on the page?

Take it down- I'm hot and bothered already in this summer heat!!

Actually no , come to think of it, have you got a bigger resolution one I can use as Windows wallpaper?

I don't think the money argument will work, congestion charging in London makes little money and there is no reason to believe it'll be any cheaper to run in Manchester.

Northern Monkey - try going to Bury Interchange on a Friday night, alone, about 9 pm. You'll see a lack of policing and a fundamentally unsafe environment. Whereas trains always have a conductor as well as a driver that isn't the case on the Metrolink.

There is no need to replace a decent heavy rail system with Metrolink. Why does it cost me over £4.00 to get a Bury-Manchester Metro return but £1.80 with a railcard to get a Bolton-Manchester train ticket? Using the latter ticket I can travel with TransPennine on new, high quality trains which are faster than the Metrolink, cleaner, safer, and more comfortable.

You claim it's not a vote winner but there is massive opposition to the policy throughout the Metropolitan boroughs. The City Centre is an irrelevance when compared to places like Bury, Bolton and Trafford with real winnable Parliamentary seats and large Conservative groups on the Council or Conservative-controlled Councils.

I can't believe for a second that you think people who are already colossally overtaxed by an uncaring, incompetent and out of touch Government would be happy to pay massive amounts of money (over £1000 a year) to subsidise an expansion to the tram system.

Alex Fisher, the metrolink is certainly uncomfortable to use with passengers being buffeted about as it rocks and rattles its way along. The 135 bus is a lot more comfy.

It's just another Labour stealth-tax. Drivers contribute something of the order of £45Billion/year to the Treasury - that's around 10% of total taxes. In exchange for which we get dire third-world levels of investment in the road network. Road-pricing (which the Manchester charge is a form of) is only a tenable alternative if it is offset by an end to all forms of fuel- and vehicle-excise-duty.

I'm loving the prospect of Manchester becoming a Labour-MP-free zone over this!

Has it been stated how much of the £2.8bn to be spent on public transport, the congestion charge is supposed to raise?

Northernmonkey, as a Mancunian I am one of those you are driving into penury with this TAX (I will not grace it with any other title) I MUST drive to work as it would take me in excess of 4 hours to get to work (one-way) as I work in the Rochdale/Bury area and live in the South of Manchester. I earn less than £18k before tax and am already being squeezed by massive tax rises and do not need this on top. Unless, of course, I can expect a nice pay rise but I am not holding my breath. You could mention tax credits but as a single gentleman I am only entitled to be taxed and cannot afford to maintain a family responsibly.
Please do not consider my doubts an insult, your beliefs are, of course, your own. Tax has a wider implication over and above its immediate negative effect.

NM may be correct saying this won't be a vote winner in Manchester itself but I have friends in Urmston who are less than impressed by this plan, arguing that charging to enter the city centre (i.e. trying to keep traffic out of the city centre) is all well and good but in conjunction with charging folk to use the M60 (when many use it to AVOID the city centre) makes little sense, especially as people will then be trapped, seeing as they have to use the ring road or travel through the city centre

This is an ill thought out proposal and it will come back to bite Labour MPs on the arse throughout Greater Manchester

Exactly, Paul D. I live in Urmston myself, and almost the only way out of there by road is under the M60.

Just to remind you - one third of adults in Greater Manchester have no access to a car. Do you think these people will be against the proposals?

And I wouldn't bank on the anti-charge campaigners winning in a referendum in Bolton - the congestion charge zone does not run through Bolton at all, yet they'll get their fair share of public transport improvements. Only the 5% of Boltonians who commute into Manchester have any reason to vote against it.

And the LibDems in Stockport will probably end up backing it (especially since LibDem run Rochdale is supporting it - still, not like LibDems to be inconsistent!).

That would leave 8 out of 10 councils supporting it, with only Tory run Trafford and Bury opposing it (but both of those boroughs have Metrolink access anyway).

NorthernMonkey, what happens if £2.7 billion isn't generated from it? Like any government IT project, there is a high change of overspend and the London version shows little success.

Would you agree that if no money was made from it, it would be an awful idea?

Also, you make a bizarre argument that everyone who doesn't use their car regularly for work will be against it. What about people who like to drive from Bolton to Manchester or those that would like the opportunity to go out on an evening when there are few trains?

NorthernMonkey: I bet the people without cars are also least likely to vote and vice versa.

The sales pitch is based on Red Ken's version of the success of the London schemes. Any competent analysis of the London congestion charge would highlight just what a bad investment that is. Representatives of the people in Manchester should have told the government that they do not accept bribes. Still I cannot be too holy as our East Midlands reps just fell out amongst themselves and so lost their bribe money.

We need our shadow cabinet to let it be known that they will cancel the Manchester & London schemes with no compensation.

Labour is going down the plug hole.

Michael Rutherford - the £2.8bn is not based on how 'successful' the congestion charge is.

The government will give Greater Manchester £1.5bn guarenteed if they adopt the congestion charge (that money cannot be taken away) and another £1.2bn will be given in the form of a loan which will be paid back from the revenue of the congestion charge (for however long this takes - estimated at 25-30 years). Another £0.1m comes from additional sources.

So Greater Manchester is not relying upon revenue for the public transport improvements - they will happen now (all £2.8bn) regardless of how successful it is. But obviously, the more revenue is raised, the quicker the loan can be paid off.

That there is 1/3 of people without cars is irrelevant. I live in the middle of nowhere and there are buses. Yes they are slow and infrequent but setting yourself some time aside, they do their job.
I HIGHLY DOUBT that third of people in Manchester have any shortage of buses. Its just a cover for another tax, dont be taken in by it, as a statistic on its own its totally meaningless.

ConservativeHomer, the public transport in Greater Manchester, as with any other forgotten part of the UK outside of London, is not good enough at the moment.

The £3bn is being spent precisely to make sure that in the future buses / metro's do run on time, they cover a wider area and are more reliable etc. so then people really will have an alternative to using the car.

Theresa Villiers couldn't run a bath. Can we please put someone competent in charge of this please? It is very important that we get this right!

You can run buses every minute, with leather seats soft music and sexy bus conductresses.. and I will still always drive.


Because I pay to use the roads and it's more convenient, I don't get mugged, (except by Labour at the Petrol station), I don't have to wait, and most of all I do not have to listen to the inane crap people talk incessantly.

Snob? Not really, but even if I was it's a free country and I won't use your buses trams or trains just cos you say.

Will I pay? No; I will just not go to Manchester, I can watch the City die perfectly well on TV.....

Theresa Villiers couldn't run a bath.

Speak for yourself,Tandy.......

She can run my bath anyday of the week!

Another thought on this

I can't imagine the owners of Manchester Airport, the airlines that use it or the people that work there being too chuffed about this. From Leeds we have to use the M60 to get there. If people are going to have to pay more to get to the airport they will look elsewhere to arrange their flights, especially with the ever dwindling number of direct flights

Even if employees at MAN are exempted (if they're low earners), fewer passengers means lower revenues for the shops etc, which could put jobs at risk

I accept the scheme is going to be unpopular.

However, Theresa Villiers' comments only add to the view of many that she is the wrong person for the transport brief.

She is intent on playing silly party political games rather than appearing to be preparing for government. Perhaps Ruth Kelly is pushing ahead with this idea because she believes in it? Villiers should actually tell u what she would do as Transport Sec rather than what she won't do.

Paul D, I think you will be OK, because Manchester Airport is outside the M60.

Presumably they will exempt the M60 itself, otherwise the amount of rat-running would be stupid. In London the boundary ring is exempted.

I'm still against this mind....

I disagree somewhat with some in the party on this, as a transport enthusiast, and Manchester certainly needs better public transport, and less congestion.

But it may not be the right time to do it, given the other costs people face, and I'd need to see much more detailed proposals to how it would pay for better services that can be provided quickly.

A Conservative approach should be to find ways of attracting more private money into the infrastructure in Greater Manchester, then perhaps not so many people would need to drive in.

I agree with Joe - get real guys.

We have to face the reality that the era of cheap plentiful energy is behind us forever. When we enter government we will have to deal with a situation of mounting severity in terms of rising oil prices and eventually physical shrotages of oil as well. We will have no choice but to enforce a huge reduction in oil consumption, of which schemes like this will be just the beginning.

comstock - according to my friends in Urmston, part of the scheme involves charging to use the M60

The biggest fear in Manchester is that the scheme will be extended and the other towns in the area will be charged. A report written by the Labour group contained a diagram of the region with charging zones depicted around the other towns such as Stockport, Wigan, Rochdale, Oldham exec and the airport. The scheme is like an iceberg, what you do see is bad enough but it is what is concealed underneath that is the real danger.

The comments to this entry are closed.



ConHome on Twitter

    follow me on Twitter

    Conservative blogs

    Today's public spending saving

    New on other blogs

    • Receive our daily email
      Enter your details below:

    • Tracker 2
    • Extreme Tracker