the Business Forum and
the Economic Partnership
in Brighton & Hove
Homepage    BCRP Intranet    Funding    Events    Knowledgebase    Links    About us     Contact us
Key projects
Crime
reduction
 


Inward
investment
information
 


Licensee
Forum
 

Workforce development 

Transport
 

Business &
climate
change

Property &
Development sites

Business
Improvement
Districts

Housing
 

Strategy
 

Consultation opportunities
 

Brighton & Hove Business Forum
8-11 Pavilion Buildings, Brighton, BN1 1EE
Tel: 01273 735442
Email: info@brighton
business.co.uk

© Brighton & Hove
Business Forum

News - 7 December 2008

Will Manchester opt for congestion charging?

With less than a week to go before the vote closes on the world’s biggest proposed congestion charge, pressure is mounting from both sides of the debate. Other cities are watching to see how Manchester businesses respond.

The Forum of Private Business (FPB) is urging the people of Greater Manchester to vote ‘no’ while the the Association of Greater Manchester Authorities (AGMA) is driving the 'yes' campaign.

The AGMA stands to win £1.5 billion in Transport Innovation Fund (TIF) monies from the Government if people in at least seven of the region’s 10 local councils vote in favour of the charge. An additional £1.2 billion would have to be borrowed to administer the scheme, and to pay for the planned public transport work that is due to take place. It would be paid back from money levied from drivers using electronic tags on their windscreens.

The campaign has included highly-emotive billboard marketing, and a television advertisement taken off the air by Ofcom, the broadcasting regulator, for being ‘directed towards a political end’. Despite these efforts, the FPB believes that the majority of business owners and members of the public are "deeply concerned" at the cost of the charge, which would be up to £5 per day for travelling through an ‘inner’ and ‘outer’ ring surrounding the city. If given the green light, the scheme would be introduced in 2013 and the FBP believes it could seriously damage Greater Manchester’s economy.

The Manchester charge is being proposed by the ‘yes’ campaign as a solution to traffic congestion in the region. However, AGMA claim that their own figures show that traffic on local roads has not increased during the past 15 years. There are also no guarantees that the upper limit of the charge – or the size of the charging zones – would stay the same in the future.

Evidence from the London experience of congestion charging has also not been wholeheartedly positive with regard to reducing congestion (see previous stories in Knowledgebase)

The FPB is urging voters to consider the country’s only existing congestion charging scheme in London as a cautionary example citing the fact that two years after it was introduced the zone size doubled and charges rose by 60%. In the past week the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, has announced that the western extension of the charge, introduced in 2007 by his predecessor, Ken Livingstone, is to be abolished. Mr Johnson’s decision follows a vote in which 67% of residents – and 86% of businesses – said they wanted it scrapped.

The FPB is concerned at reports suggesting that many businesses and residents in the region have still not received their ballot papers. The deadline for the return of posted papers is 10pm on Thursday, 11 December. However, they can be deposited in special post boxes up to 10am the following day.

FPB member Tony Massey, of building services consultant engineers Gill Massey in Sale, believes many people are not fully aware of the impact a congestion charge would have on the region’s economy. "The congestion charge, with its vast area of coverage – the outer ring cost being higher than the inner ring of charging – is a thin disguise as a further tax on businesses and individuals,” said Mr Massey. “It will ultimately have a detrimental effect on the commercial viability of Manchester."

Recently, the ‘yes’ campaign argued that clearer roads would mean that small contractors would be able to ‘do more work’ each day to be able to pay for the charge but opponents see this as a weak case when stacked up against the many arguments against the charge.

In response to the AGMA, FPB member Martin Cocks, of Goalcroft Ltd in Leyland, Lancashire, said he would be forced to pass on the costs. “We do quite a lot of work in Manchester and, of course, we have to use the roads. If we were made to pay this charge, it would have to go on the job,” he said. “In any case, the hours you work in one location are generally dictated by the environment you’re working in.”

Andrew Ince, of Harrison Ince Ltd, a firm of architects based in Manchester city centre, fears that people will seek employment outside the congestion charging zone and businesses will be forced relocate to other sites. “The £5 cap per vehicle per day is going to have a massive financial impact on my business. I’m going to have to consider whether or not we stay in Manchester and I am concerned the congestion charge will also affect the value of our property,” he said. “There is no balance between the reduced congestion and the additional cost to my business.”

The Bacon Factory is a family bacon slicing firm in Bury, Lancashire. Its Managing Director, FPB member Chris Hardman, said that congestion charging could prove to be too costly, and disrupt the relationship between small firms, their customers and their suppliers.

“We don’t want it; it’s just another form of tax that is bound to be detrimental to businesses,” said Mr Hardman. “Customers and suppliers are going to try to avoid it at all costs, and they will want to operate outside normal business hours, so it will cost us more money in the long run, trying to accommodate them. It will also cause us problems with our own deliveries.”

His brother, Matt Hardman, added: “It could also drive consumers away from Manchester city centre towards other regions and out-of-town shopping centres – especially during normal operating hours, when the charges would apply. It could also force potential new businesses to avoid the city altogether.”


Read related items on:
Car
Road
Association of Greater Manchester Authorities
City Centre


Browse our business Knowledgebase or search by keyword


Headlines

19 February 2018
House Price update Q4 2017
19 February 2018
What would you do in a crisis? 19 February 2018
The investment journey for high growth entrepreneurs 9 February 2018
Make Change Count 2018 - helping rough sleepers in Brighton & Hove 8 February 2018
Brighton Technology Company Paxton Announces Recipients of New Scholarship Programmein Association with the University of Brighton 8 February 2018
Cyber London Accelerator Invites Summer 2018 Entries 8 February 2018
Innovate UK Launches Strand 2 Emerging and Enabling Technologies Sector Competition 8 February 2018
Success In Sussex As Food And Drink Heroes Crowned Winners 8 February 2018
UK Games Fund - Fourth Round Open to Applications 8 February 2018
Innovate UK & Prince's Trust Launch Young Innovators' Programme 6 February 2018
Brighton & Hove Food Partnership launches 'Kit Out The Kitchen' crowdfunding campaign 2 February 2018
Brighton & Hove Council and Crest Nicholson win £15m government funding to kickstart King Alfred project 1 February 2018
Could a Utilise Plus Programme grant help you? 1 February 2018
Shoreham Port Facilitates Huge Operation 18 January 2018
IUK Announces Collaborative R&D Funding for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles Simulation 18 January 2018
Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Launches $1 Billion Corporate Venture Capital Fund for Next Generation Mobility 17 January 2018
PORTlife #17 Newsletter Out Now 17 January 2018
Over £19,000 raised for Burning the Clocks 2017 11 January 2018
Brighton Main Line Improvement Project: Planned closures in October 2018 and February 2019 11 January 2018
Come on in! Fairtrade Fortnight 2018 8 January 2018
Sussex Business SkillSnap targets hospitality industry skill shortage 3 January 2018
House Price update 2017 Q3 20 December 2017
£14.35 Million European Regional Development Fund Launched 19 December 2017
Leading the way - Sustainability in Action masterclass 15 December 2017
Brighton is among the best places to start a business due to their strong growth factors 15 December 2017
GTR consultation ends 20th Dec 2017 13 December 2017
Ethical Food StartUp Programme - Idea Generation Workshop 12 December 2017
Utilise Plus launch programme of energy efficiency grants and business support for SMEs 11 December 2017
City Centre Vacancy Rates Drop Slightly From Sept 5 December 2017
Innovate UK Announces Sector Competitions in Manufacturing and Infrastructure Systems 5 December 2017
GDPR, steps to early compliance 1 December 2017
The 29th Sussex Business Awards 2017 Winners Announced 1 December 2017
Old tech gear? Give IT a new lease of life 29 November 2017
Driving for Better Business Campaign launches 29 November 2017
ARKA Funerals sponsor Burning the Clocks 2017 with 'In Memory' lanterns 27 November 2017
Govia Thameslink launches third consultation phase on once-in-a-generation timetable restructure 23 November 2017
Coast to Capital Launches Brighton Mainline Alliance 22 November 2017
Calling all UK companies that have transport, parking and commuting issues to address 15 November 2017
Start-up Challenge Business Competition Offering £10,000 Investment to Young Entrepreneurs 15 November 2017
IUK Announces £10 Million Innovation Loans Infrastructure Systems Funding Competition for UK SMEs