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News - 26 November 2006

Business backs congestion charging

The vast majority of businesses are in favour of road pricing to tackle the issues of congestion. Business is clearly suffering from the consequences of gridlock.

According to new research carried out by the British Chambers of Commerce business is at ‘breaking point’ with 84% of respondents saying that congestion is adversely affecting their business.

As a result, 87% of businesses said they support the principle of road pricing to deal with the issue. Some 46% said however that their support for the idea came with the caveat that amendments are made to other forms of taxation such as fuel duty, while 42% called for road tax changes.

The BCC said the government must guarantee that additional revenue raised by road pricing be kept separate from general transport expenditure and be used to improve the road network and public transport provision.

The BCC also reissued its demand for a 30-year transport plan to provide strategic prioritisation of key projects and for regional transport boards to be set up jointly between the public and private sectors.

David Frost, BCC director general, said, "Congestion has reached such a level in the UK that business is willing to consider road pricing, something unthinkable just a short while ago.

"The road network is still the most important for business yet the overwhelming majority say that road congestion is stifling their business.

"These results should not be seen however as an excuse to charge with one hand and still keep taking with the other.

"If road pricing is to be introduced there must be reductions for business in road tax and fuel duty. There must also be a guarantee that the additional money raised be not just put into the general transport pot be spent on improving the road network and public transport."


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