Wales politics

Severn tolls: Labour 'hypocrisy' over Cleddau Bridge

Cleddau Bridge

Welsh Labour ministers should act to scrap tolls on a Pembrokeshire bridge, the Conservatives have said.

Tory transport spokesman Russell George accused the Welsh Government of "hypocrisy", given its view that Severn Bridge tolls should be abolished.

Referring to the Cleddau Bridge tolls at 75p for cars and £1.50 for lorries, he said: "They've done nothing to tackle the one toll it could scrap."

The Welsh Government said it was a local authority matter.

Pembrokeshire council decided in May to keep the tolls in place after a review.

The criticism comes after the UK government announced plans to cut the Severn Bridge tolls by more than half.

Cars, vans and small buses could pay as little as £3 from 2018, after the crossings return to public ownership.

Wales' Economy Secretary Ken Skates said the tolls should be scrapped, as a tax on entering Wales.

Mr George criticised the minister, claiming he failed to answer his point about the Cleddau Bridge when he raised the issue of tolls in the Senedd.

"It's a bit rich of the Welsh Labour government to grumble about the Severn Bridge tolls when they've done nothing to tackle the one toll it could scrap," Mr George said.

"Hardworking people across Pembrokeshire will rightly question why the Cleddau Bridge is not afforded the same focus and status."

He added: "The decision to cut the Severn Bridge tolls by the UK Conservative government is a huge boost to motorists.

"While there's no doubt we'd all like to see the abolition of tolls in the future - what is much more important, however, is having a Welsh Government focusing its energy on decisions it has power over and can implement immediately."

In May, Pembrokeshire council revealed that it had accumulated a surplus of £11.2m on Cleddau Bridge tolls, and confirmed it would keep the charges unchanged.

In response, Mr Skates said: "Nobody is fooled by this cynical Tory attack designed to divert attention from the real story.

"The Conservatives have clearly been stung by the fact that they are the only party that want to maintain a tax on businesses and individuals for using a road crucial to the economy of south Wales.

"Welsh businesses will not be taken in by this attempt to deflect from the Conservative UK government's failure to scrap the Severn Bridge tolls, despite our consistent calls to do so.

"The tolls on Cleddau Bridge are a matter for the local authority and not the Welsh Government."

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