While the Secretary of State for Wales is content in the Severn Bridge tolls being struck in half, and others say slashed further again, I believe they should be scrapped completely and the profits they have been making while letting the debt be idle, used to fix our roads.
The Severn Bridge Toll has been a thorn in Wales' literal side no doubt having some impact both on job seekers and employees travelling accross the boarder but also to tourism.
In May 2013 the debt still stood at £88 million pounds but by 2015 this figure still hadn’t moved, despite them pocketing a £140 million windfall. In fact, over 2010 to 2014, net toll revenue was £411.6 million.
Originally the private bridges were due to fall into public ownership by 2018, when the debt would need to be paid off in full.
However the UK Government has already collected far much more than this debt through “unexpected” VAT payments, introduced after an EU ruling.
In short, the toll fees are no longer necessary. All parties have already recouporated more than the cost of the bridge and continuing to bill the public for a road they have already paid off in tax is at best, immoral.
I profoundly disagree with Alun Cairns MP when he says this poor deal “strikes the right balance”. The "correct balance" would not only be to scrap the toll fees completely but to use the profit the government has made to ensure strong public ownership and maintenance is kept while using any surplus on wrap up, such as removing the toll gates and repairing the poor road conditions either side of the bridge, despite Mr Cairnes describing it in “tip top condition”.