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‘Scrap the burdensome toll’ - Essex businesses urge Government to take action on Dartford Crossing

PUBLISHED: 07:45 06 October 2018 | UPDATED: 07:52 06 October 2018

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Essex businesses have called for the scrapping of Darftord crossing tolls to “remove this handbrake from the local economy”.

David Barnes  - FSB Regional Chair and Area Leader Picture: FSBDavid Barnes - FSB Regional Chair and Area Leader Picture: FSB

David Barnes, regional chairman for the Federation of Small Businesses, and area leader for Essex, made the comments following the announcement that tolls on the Severn Crossing would be scrapped in December.

Mr Barnes welcomed the announcement – and called on Government to now “scrap the burdensome Dartford Crossing tolls”.

“Like businesses in Wales, businesses in the South East would like to exploit the advantages of the removal of bridge tolls, which would increase the opportunity for them to work cross-border and attract investment and talent,” he added.

“Small firms need all the help they can get and the FSB’s quarterly small business confidence index recently demonstrated that the rising cost of business rates, rent, fuel and employment mean the recently increased Dartford Crossing toll charge is yet another crippling blow to businesses.

“We would welcome the opportunity to work with the Secretary of State to implement the removal of this handbrake on the local economy and urge local businesses in Essex to write to their local MP to let them know how this tax on their business directly affects them.”

Mr Barnes also spoke of the FSB’s focus on the need for the Lower Thames Crossing, or Third Thames Crossing, which would link Kent and Essex through Thurrock.

Highways England announced yesterday that consultation on updated plans for a new Lower Thames Crossing will start next week.

Mr Barnes added: “The Lower Thames crossing will provide a much needed alternative route for vehicles which will enable sustainable local development and regional growth leading to a stronger economy. Not only will it provide relief to the Dartford Crossing and approach roads it will support businesses to grow, creating more jobs, apprenticeships and training.”

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