Birmingham Conservatives call on council to reject city charging zone

Claim that council consultation responses comprehensively reject Labour Travel Tax plan on private vehicles.

Birmingham Conservatives are urgently calling on the Labour administration to listen to the thousands of residents and businesses that have comprehensively rejected their proposals for a charging clean air zone in the city.

After consultation responses from in excess of 10,000 individuals showed that the majority of people believe the proposals would be negative for the city, themselves and their families and three-quarters believed it would be bad for businesses in the city, Conservative councillors claim that the Labour-run council is pushing ahead regardless in continued contempt for the people they are there to serve.

Councillor Robert Alden, Leader of the Conservative Group on Birmingham City Council said “It is clear from the way Labour have handled this situation over the last few months that this was never anything more than a cursory consultation designed to tick a box and allow them to push forward with what they have wanted all along, to tax car owners for the privilege of using the city centre.

“Despite government guidance stipulating that the minimum charge should be levied against the minimum number of vehicles, Labour have gone for the maximum in order to cash in on an estimated £260 million over the next ten years from hard working people”

Commenting on the range of mitigations and exemptions contained in the revised proposals, Councillor Alden said: “Whilst it is welcome that Labour have partially picked up on some of our suggestions for increased exemptions and mitigations for certain groups, including those on low incomes, and those visiting health facilities, it is extremely disappointing that they feel the need to charge these people in the first place and then only include exemptions for one year.

“It is also disappointing that they have failed to listen to concerns about the size of the zone and its impact on historic areas such as the Jewellery Quarter or how the proposals will push pollution to areas outside of the zone. With Cabinet meeting on Monday to confirm their decision, we urge the Labour administration to once again read the positive and comprehensive plan put forward by the Conservative Group to clean our air without unfairly penalising residents and businesses and adopt it in full, dropping Labour’s unfair travel tax on private vehicles.”