Businesses and MPs lifted as Chancellor says Government may rethink tolling A14 Huntingdon bypass


A14 - Credit: Archant

Politicians and businesses claim they are increasingly confident that the Government will scrap controversial proposals for a toll on the new A14 between Huntingdon and Cambridge.

A14 proposed

A14 proposed - Credit: Archant

Six of Suffolk’s seven MPs who took the case against the toll to the Prime Minister last week said they were encouraged by their talks.

Now business leaders have been given more hope after meeting Chancellor George Osborne near Norwich on Thursday.

During a question and answer session, Suffolk Chamber chief executive John Dugmore asked Mr Osborne if he would “fully reconsider early thinking on the tolling of this strategic road of national importance.”

He got a short reply: “Yes, we will.”

Mr Dugmore said he was delighted by the positive response, and said the Chancellor seemed to have been prepared for the issue to be raised.

Mr Dugmore added: “I came away very optimistic and feeling that the Chancellor was listening to us and willing to reconsider the matter.”

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Bury St Edmunds MP David Ruffley was among the MPs who met the Prime Minister, and has also had a private meeting with Transport Secretary Patrick Mcloughlin who will make the ultimate decision on whether to go ahead with the toll.

He said: “It is clear that senior members of the Government are getting the message that this is a poll tax on wheels that will only hit motorists and businesses in Suffolk and Cambridgeshire.

“I am sure the matter is being reconsidered and I hope we get a final decision on this at the end of the year.”

The proposed toll for the Huntingdon relief road has caused a furious reaction because there would be no alternative route – part of the existing A14 is to be demolished in the £1.5 billion road redevelopment.

Meanwhile Suffolk Coastal MP Dr Therese Coffey yesterday presented a petition containing 2,292 names to Parliament in a bid to push the case for the controversial toll proposal to be dropped.