Commenting on the report published by the South East Wales Transport Commission, Russell George MS – the Welsh Conservatives spokesperson on Transport – said:
“The report’s finding make interesting reading, particularly the effect of the pandemic on individuals’ travelling habits.
“While there is a case for looking at, as recommended, looking at more flexible working arrangements for people, Welsh Conservatives regard a successful travel policy – be it for work, education, or pleasure – as a mix of public and private transport.
“We are also strong advocates for an M4 relief, something commuters, businesses, and businesspeople have needed for years, and have pledged that a Welsh Conservative government would deliver this.
“However, the question over introducing ‘congestion charges’ – less than two years after tolls, effectively a tax for entering Wales, were removed from the Severn Crossings – requires much more.
“The axing of the tolls has saved the average commuter or business £1,400 per year, and provided an estimated annual boost of over £100 million for the Welsh economy. Businesses have also benefited from strengthened links between communities ranging from West Wales to South-west of England by making it easier for consumers, business, and employees to cross the border.
“Some businesses may prefer to pay for a faster and less congested route, but until realistic alternatives are in place, charging people to use the M4 is not something Welsh Conservatives would support.”
Matt Smith is a Conservative who stood for Parliament and the National Assembly for Wales. He was a policy analyst at Vote Leave. He has written about Welsh politics for The Daily Telegraph, Conhome, BrexitCentral, CAPX, Institute of Welsh Affairs, and GlobalVisionUK. You can read more about Welsh politics at www.mattsmith.org.uk/news.