Hull City Council offers to take on Humber Bridge debt

Humber Bridge
Image caption Tolls for a car could fall to just £1.50 from April

A new deal has been proposed over the Humber Bridge debt that could see tolls fall.

The government agreed last year to clear £150m of the £330m owed and said tolls could be halved.

The four local councils on the bridge board met on Friday to discuss how the remaining debt could be managed.

At the meeting Hull City Council offered to underwrite the remaining £180m debt, paving the way for a toll cut within months.

The Chancellor made the offer to cut the bridge debt in his Autumn Statement last November.

It was proposed in return that the four local authorities on the bridge board should divide the remaining debt between them but one, North East Lincolnshire Council, was reluctant.

It suggested the larger authorities should take on more of the liability.

Hull City Council said on Friday that if an agreement to share the liability could not be reached then it was prepared to shoulder it alone.

The Labour-run authority said it was confident the government would accept its offer and tolls could be lowered from April.

That could see the cost of a single-crossing by a car fall to £1.50.

The Humber Bridge opened in 1981 and has an outstanding debt of £330m after it was financed with a £150m government loan, which rose due to interest.

The toll was raised from £2.70 to £3 in October.

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