Jon writes in the Barking and Dagenham Post:
"This week in the Budget, the government will unveil plans to sell off the roads. Motorists are already suffering from record fuel rises – we will soon be hitting £1.50 a litre! Now we face a tolling free-for all as we sell off parts of the country to wealth funds from China and India.
British drivers simply don’t trust the government to come up with a new way of paying for roads that will not lead to increased costs in the long run. It is pretty obvious that if we toll motorways and trunk roads, we will simply push drivers on to local roads and increase congestion.
Have the Tories learnt nothing from when they sold off the railways? That was supposed to give us cheaper fares and lower costs but instead ripped off the passenger and increased costs to the taxpayer. Last year they wanted to sell off the country’s forests and ports. Talk about flogging off the nation’s assets!
Drivers already pay far more in taxes and duties than they get back in investment in new roads. Tolls can be an attractive proposition to many low mileage drivers but only if current taxes are cut to compensate for new charges. Past governments have a poor track record of removing tolls once private contracts have expired – the Dartford Crossing should have been free once the original debt was paid but tolls remain in place.
So this week we are going to see the motorist once again put in the firing line. Meanwhile those who earn over £150,000 a year will be given a tax cut whilst the rest of us face pay freezes, benefit and tax credit cuts, health, policing and education cuts and a clearance sale of the country’s assets.
This week, more than any other over the past 18 months, will show that the Tories haven’t really changed. They simply look after their own; so much for “we are all in this together”."
Jon Cruddas MP
Labour Member of Parliament for Dagenham and Rainham