Transport: Cheshire

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 10:59 am on 5th June 2019.

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Photo of Justin Madders Justin Madders Labour, Ellesmere Port and Neston 10:59 am, 5th June 2019

The hon. Gentleman makes a valid point. The system seems to have been set up to make it as difficult as possible to pay the tolls, which is probably why there are so many difficulties and so many fines. It is the major route to John Lennon airport, and how realistic is it to expect people going on their holidays to pay a toll online by the following day? It is not living in the real world.

There are real concerns about the tactics used by the debt recovery firm once a fine is issued, and about the way costs can escalate to nearly £400 in no time at all. A minimum bailiff charge of £380 for a £2 crossing seems totally disproportionate; it is yet more racketeering. I have heard too many stories of bailiffs turning up unannounced and clamping vehicles before they have spoken to anyone to be confident that they are operating reasonably.

I ask the Minister again to consider that those in the public sector in particular travelling in both directions over the bridge face four-figure increases in their costs just to get to work. I have heard many difficult stories about how people have been affected, including one from a young mum whose husband had a stay in Broadgreen Hospital. It was costing her £15 extra a day just to visit him. She had more than enough to worry about at that time.