Severn Bridge Tolls

 Stephen Kinnock (Aberavon) (Lab): I congratulate my hon. Friend on securing the debate. Does she agree that the policy for the bridges and their tolls is a classic example of a false economy? 

Stephen Kinnock (Aberavon) (Lab): I congratulate my hon. Friend on securing the debate. Does she agree that the policy for the bridges and their tolls is a classic example of a false economy? The tolls may well create revenue, but a huge amount of additional economic activity is being lost. This disincentive to cross-border trade and activity deprives the Exchequer of much-needed tax revenues through corporation tax, business rates and additional economic activity. If the tolls were presented as a classic example of a false economy, we may get some more traction with the Government.

Jessica Morden: I thank my hon. Friend for his well-made point. The Welsh Government certainly agree that lowering the tolls would help to stimulate the Welsh economy.

Stephen Kinnock: The Minister says that the Government have not yet made a decision, and 2018 is not that far away. As hon. Members said earlier, business abhors a vacuum. Business needs certainty, and it needs to know where its costs will be. Can we please have clarity on when the decision will be made and why it cannot be made within a defined period of time?

Andrew Jones: Although 2018 is not that far, it is still three years away. Work on what happens next is under way. We are looking at a potential end date for the concession of around 2018. It is a financial target, rather than a fixed date, which means that we have a requirement to plan appropriately, and I will address that next.