The Leaders of the No Toll Tax on Suffolk campaign have said today that the Government’s decision to axe the plans for tolling the A14 is the right decision for business, for the economy and for Suffolk.
Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander MP has today (Wednesday) announced that Government plans to introduce a toll as part of A14 improvement have been scrapped and the upgrade will be paid for out of general taxation.
"The Government have said this morning that plans to toll the A14 have been scrapped which is good news for business, good news for the economy and good news for Suffolk," said John Dugmore, the CEO of Suffolk Chamber who led the No Toll Tax on Suffolk campaign. "The reason that No Toll Tax on Suffolk has been successful is because business, local authorities, MPs, LEPs and other groups have been joined up in their message that action is needed on this fundamental piece of infrastructure but taxing traffic coming in and out of Suffolk is not the answer.”
Other members of the No Toll Tax on Suffolk campaign have also spoken this morning in light of the news from the Treasury.
"Suffolk businesses, councils and MPs have been vocal in opposition to proposals to toll parts of the A14 and today that hard work and determination has been rewarded,” said Councillor Mark Bee, Suffolk County Council's leader. "We're fully behind plans to improve the A14 as a key route for our county and strategic link between this country and the continent. But a toll would be an unfair tax on Suffolk businesses and those choosing to use the Port of Felixstowe to import and export goods.” “We’re pleased that the Government has listened to the No Toll Tax on Suffolk campaign,” said Dr Andy Wood, New Anglia LEP Chairman. “The upgrading of the A14 is essential for the local economy, but a toll would have a very negative impact on businesses. The campaign led by the Chamber of Commerce has brought together businesses and political leaders to speak with a single voice that has united our area in opposition to a tax that would unfairly target our area, at a time when we are leading the country’s return to growth.”
The No Toll Tax on Suffolk campaign spoke directly with Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne on the issue in Norwich last month and led by local Suffolk MP Therese Coffey, they met with the Secretary of State for Transport at Westminster last week.
“I look forward to the Chief Secretary to the Treasury confirming to Parliament that the toll has been dropped,” said Therese Coffey MP from Suffolk Coastal. “It shows that the Government has listened carefully to concerns from businesses and residents. I am delighted that MPs have worked together with the Chamber, businesses and our councils to get a good result.”
The announcement was also welcomed by Local Authority Leaders from Suffolk.
"We greatly welcome the announcement that the Government has decided to drop the plan to impose a toll charge on the improved A14,” said Cllr Geoff Holdcroft, Suffolk Coastal's Cabinet Member with responsibility for Planning. “We are extremely relieved that reason has prevailed, as a result of the concerted outcry from local residents, business and the local authorities in Suffolk against the proposal. A toll would directly damage the local and wider UK economy to a significant degree."
"The proposals to toll the A14 would have meant a tax on the local economy and a loss of jobs," said Dr Peter Funnell the President of Suffolk Chamber of Commerce. "Therefore if we today hear that Government is scrapping these plans then it is the right thing for business, the right thing for the economy and the right thing for Suffolk." "Business, LEPs, Councillors and Local Authorities have come together with one joined up voice to tell Government that a toll tax on Suffolk would be wrong," he continued. "We look forward to working with Government on the way forward."
Taken from Suffolk Chamber of Commerce