The Conservatives planned to charge motorists £120 a year to use the A1 through Northumberland, it has been revealed. The plan, which would have covered large swathes of the country’s roads, was blocked by Liberal Democrats in government, led by the Transport Minister at the time, Norman Baker.
Mr Baker said: “In 2013, my Lib Dem colleagues and I blocked a Conservative proposal to charge drivers £120 a year for using motorways and a large list of A-roads, including the A1 through Northumberland.
“The plans would have led to slower journeys and more congestion as people diverted onto smaller roads to save money, annoying the residents of local towns and villages and increasing the risk of accidents.
“I know from first-hand experience that getting big policies both right and fair is tricky. But this Conservative proposal was neither of those things. It would have had a whole range of damaging consequences – unfairly punishing Northumberland’s motorists, clogging up local roads and hurting the environment. I am proud that we stopped it from going ahead.”
Lib Dem Parliamentary candidate Julie Pörksen added: “This is another example of the vital role Liberal Democrat MPs played in reigning in the Conservatives over the last five years. Had the Conservatives been governing on their own we would have road charges on the A1, no progress on dualling, schools run for private profit and regional pay cuts for Northumberland teachers and nurses.”