Trafford Council leader Cllr Susan Williams welcomes the resounding rejection of the Congestion Charge.
I returned from the referendum count on Congestion charging for Greater Manchester on Friday afternoon feeling what a magnificent day it had been for democracy, especially in Trafford where we had the highest turnout. Over 1 million people turned out to cast their vote and the verdict was a resounding ‘No’. This was despite the millions spent to persuade the voters otherwise and despite the question not even mentioning the congestion charge. It was a ‘No’ to a huge tax burden (up to £1200 per year) and ‘No’ to a Government handcuff approach in giving funding with one hand and taking from the motorist with the other.
The split of the votes, percentage wise, was as follows:
- Bolton: Yes 21% No 79%
- Bury: Yes 21% No 79%
- Manchester: Yes 28% No 72%
- Oldham: Yes 20% No 80%
- Rochdale: Yes 22% No 78%
- Salford: Yes 16% No 84%
- Stockport: Yes 19% No 81%
- Tameside: Yes 17% No 83%
- Trafford: Yes 20% No 80%
- Wigan: Yes 26% No 74%
The vote was over 4:1 against in Trafford, Tameside, Oldham, Salford and Stockport, with Salford being the most heavily against.
On Monday evening, I predicted a 10 ‘No’ result to my Executive, based on intelligence gathered in the last week or so- however I never could have foreseen the quantum of opposition.
After 3 years of debate, this referendum was not the beginning of this process and nor will it be the end. I proposed this referendum to my colleagues in Greater Manchester and have immediately pressed for
Government to secure us the money. I have no doubt that the cross party alliance of MPs who were so instrumental in this cross party/cross business coalition will be vital in the next stage. Special thanks must go to Graham Stringer, Graham Brady, Andrew Stunnel, Andrew Gwynne and others whose efforts in this campaign have been key to its success.
There will be some considerable soul searching across Greater Manchester at this time and it is never easy to pull yourself up after such a high profile loss, but we must all regroup immediately to get the best deal for the people of Greater Manchester.