Road Charging

Charles raises constituents' concerns about reported costs of road charging

Mr. Charles Walker (Broxbourne) (Con): Will the Secretary of State accept that we cannot preserve our roads only for rich people? In my constituency, there is genuine concern about some of the figures that have been talked about in the press-for example, £1.34 a mile, which would mean that a nurse commuting from Broxbourne to Chase Farm paid about £120 a week in charges. We could give her all the free petrol she could use and it still would not cover the £120 charge.

Mr. Darling: I am sure that the hon. Gentleman will have pointed out to his constituent that the study from which the figure of £1.34 was derived stated that the charges would range from 2p a mile to £1.34, and the £1.34 would be paid by only 0.5 per cent. of the population, on a very narrow range of streets, at very busy times. We have to be grown up about these things, but inevitably, given a range of figures, people reporting these matters tend to go for the highest rather than the lowest. I have no doubt that the hon. Gentleman will want to tell his constituent that, and if he likes, I will happily write him a letter making that point, which he can pass on. "