Budget 2015: Severn tolls to be reduced, not abolished
In the statement, Chancellor George Osborne announced that VAT will be abolished on the tolls after 2018, bringing the car toll down to £5.40 from £6.50 whilst LCV drivers will also qualify for the same rate from that date.
However, no changes have been announced for category 3 tolls (which covers CV over 3.5t), which has caused controversy, including from the Freight Transport Association (FTA).
“The Chancellor’s announcement today is the first confirmation from UK Government that charging will continue after 2018 when the bridge comes into public ownership,” commented Ian Gallagher, FTA head of policy South West and Wales.
“Whilst the change to the tolls is seen good news for van and minibus operators – FTA considers it is a kick in the teeth for the logistics industry as a whole. There are three years of toll increases still to come. By 2018 we anticipate that the toll will be in excess of £20 for HGVs.”
Gallagher added: “FTA sees this as a bitter blow for businesses in the south west and Wales which have campaigned for an end to the tolls once the concession ceases. For too long freight operators have had to pay high charges to use the Severn Crossings, which are a vital artery between Wales and England. The money that business spend on paying these tolls could be better invested on driver training or on greener fleets.”