Humberside

Humber Bridge tolls: Hammond urged to delay decision

Humber Bridge
Image caption Business leaders want the transport secretary to wait for the results of a Treasury review of the tolls

Business leaders in Hull have written to transport secretary Philip Hammond to formally object to proposed increases in Humber Bridge tolls.

The bridge board has applied to the Department for Transport (DfT) to raise tolls by up to 11% from next April.

Hull & Humber Chamber of Commerce said that would hamper the area's economic recovery by increasing business costs.

The DfT said all objections would be heard at a public inquiry due to be held next year.

A spokesperson for the DfT said: "The secretary of state for transport has no powers to delay the application.

"But if there are objections to the application they will be considered by the public inquiry scheduled to be heard in March."

'Last thing needed'

Chamber spokesman Richard Kendall said: "Putting up the Humber Bridge tolls is one Christmas present businesses could do without.

"The last thing they need at this time is another increase in their costs.

"The economic success of this area and the contribution it can make to UK plc should come before a short-term increase in debt repayments."

Mr Kendall said the chancellor has asked his officials to review the entire issue of the tolls.

"All of the evidence we have seen to date shows that our economy would grow faster without them.

"There would be little point in one part of government approving an increase if another part is about to recommend the opposite," he said.

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