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GORDON HENDERSON MP

FOR SITTINGBOURNE & SHEPPEY

Brown wrong to sell off Dartford Crossing

Gordon Henderson has slammed the Government for proposing to sell off the Dartford Crossing which is used by 145,000 motorists each year.

Income from the tolls is shared between the crossing’s operator, Le Crossing Ltd, and the Department of Transport, which in 2004 received a gross income of £66million. That figure will have increased significantly since then.

Sale of the Dartford Crossing is included in a list of “assets” that Prime Minister, Gordon Brown says, he wants to sell to raise £3 billion to help reduce Britain’s national debt.

Mr. Henderson said:

‘Last year the Government raised tolls at the Dartford Crossing, despite having promised previously that they would be abolished once the cost of building the bridge had been recouped.

‘The excuse the Government used was that keeping the tolls in place would cut congestion and help the environment. We knew at the time this was nonsense because congestion has actually increased and pollution in the Dartford area is getting worse.

‘Gordon Brown’s proposal to sell off the Dartford Crossing to raise money to clear some of the enormous debt he has built up is a clear admission that the Government sees the tolls not as a congestion charge, but as a cash cow.

‘In the current economic climate it is probably right for the Government to sell off some state assets to help reduce the level of debt, however, I think it is adding salt to sores wounds to include the Dartford Crossing in the sale.

‘Motorists who use the Crossing, many of whom come from Sittingbourne & Sheppey, have already paid for its construction and should be allowed now to use it without paying any tolls.

‘To sell it a private operator will mean that we will have to pay to use the Dartford Crossing for ever and a day. That is simply unfair.’

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