Severn Bridge

Oral Answers to Questions — Transport – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 21st November 1994.

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Photo of Mr Jon Owen Jones Mr Jon Owen Jones , Cardiff Central 12:00 am, 21st November 1994

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Wales about the future of tolling on the Severn bridge; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Mr John Watts Mr John Watts , Slough

My Department and the Welsh Office discuss a variety of issues, including the Severn bridge.

Photo of Mr Jon Owen Jones Mr Jon Owen Jones , Cardiff Central

After that inadequate answer, may I ask the Minister what the Secretary of State for Wales has had to say about this issue? He represents his region. Business men in that region are incensed that the south Wales economy should be picked to pay the toll when other parts of the country do not pay a toll. If there is an argument for paying a toll on the Severn bridge, why is there not the same argument for paying tolls on, say, the M25?

Photo of Mr John Watts Mr John Watts , Slough

The hon. Gentleman might find that there are tolls on the M25 at the Dartford crossings. The tolls are there for the same reasons: to finance the construction of the relevant bridges.

Photo of Nigel Evans Nigel Evans , Ribble Valley

Does my hon. Friend agree that many of those businesses in Wales will welcome the introduction of a second Severn crossing that will give a greater boost to the Welsh economy?

Photo of Mr John Watts Mr John Watts , Slough

My hon. Friend is right. What is important to the Welsh economy is that there should be free passage of traffic across the Severn. [HON. MEMBERS: "Free?"] Free, but not toll free. I was speaking in terms of flowing freely.