Thou­sands back fight to Axe the Tax

TOLL IN­CREASE: Gov­ern­ment wants to charge cars £1.50

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - OFF THE RECORD - by Sam Len­non

PE­TI­TIONS and protest forms from more than 4,500 peo­ple op­pos­ing toll in­creases at the Dart­ford Cross­ing have been handed over to the Min­is­ter for Trans­port.

On Thurs­day, the day be­fore pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion ended, the KM Group’s Axe The Tax cam­paign pack­age was pre­sented to Dr Stephen Ladyman at the House of Com­mons.

More than 3,000 of the sig­na­tures were gath­ered as part of the KM Group’s cam­paign against the Gov­ern­ment’s pro­pos­als to in­crease toll charges by up to 50 per cent.

The cam­paign was launched on Novem­ber 2 last year in re­sponse to the Gov­ern­ment’s an­nounce­ment that it hoped to in­crease fees at the cross­ing to £1.50 per jour­ney for cars.

The re­main­ing names came from Dart­ford MP Dr Howard Stoate, who or­gan­ised a sepa- rate pe­ti­tion de­mand­ing a 90 per cent dis­count for peo­ple liv­ing in the town.

Dr Ladyman ad­mit­ted: “This is cer­tainly one of the big­gest re­sponses I have seen to a lo­cal trans­port is­sue.

“But of course I am will­ing to lis­ten to th­ese views; that is why we set up the con­sul­ta­tion.”

The min­is­ter also con­firmed that his fi­nal de­ci­sion on the in­creases was likely to come on April 2.

Op­po­nents of the in­crease ar­gue that driv­ers, es­pe­cially those who need to use the cross­ing to get to work, are al­ready over­bur­dened by other mo­tor­ing taxes, in­clud­ing high VAT on fuel.

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