Friday, December 12, 2008

Manchester votes NO to congestion charging

Manchester has voted overwhelming against a local congestion charge, similar in style to the charge in London. Over a million people voted in the ballot which had a high 53% turnout.

The charge, together with a massive injection of cash from national government, would have meant massive investment in public transport and infrastructure, oh, and the ability to get from place to place in a reasonable time.

Yes No Rejected Total votes % Yes % No
Manchester 43,593 113,064 250 156,907 27.78% 72.06%
Rochdale 17,333 61,686 118 79,137 21.90% 77.95%
Bolton 20,529 76,910 167 97,606 21.03% 78.80%
Bury 16,563 64,001 94 80,658 20.53% 79.35%
Bolton 17,571 68,884 141 86,596 20.29% 79.55%
Salford 14,603 79,326 105 94,034 15.53% 84.36%
Stockport 24,090 103,706 169 127,965 18.83% 81.04%
Tameside 16,323 83,105 124 99,552 16.40% 83.48%
Trafford 20,445 83,568 142 104,155 19.63% 80.23%
Wigan 27,810 78,565 132 106,507 26.11% 73.77%
Total 218,860 812,815 1,442 1,033,117 21.18% 78.68%

figures from the Middleton Guardian.

The area of highest support for the charge was Manchester proper, whilst the outlying areas were more firmly opposed - but at the end of the day not one area voted in favour of adopting the charge.


Strategist said...

Gutted. And very sad that both the SWP and Respect are presenting it as a triumph for the working class, which sadly it is not.

Worth noting that the percentages are very similar to the Edinburgh referendum a year or two ago.

Jim Jay said...

I totally agree Strategist.

I think it's also worth noting that in London they would never have won a referendum on introducing the charge but it's pretty clear that if there was a ref. today on keeping it - that would win, because it's improved the place - particualrly for the poorest.

I think there's a myth that this is a "flat tax" - when that's only the case if you think the price of bread is a flat tax too (which you could argue but it's a very particular way of looking at things)

Less congestion, better public transport and better quality of life in our city centres would improve the lives of the poorest and the left just voted against that. Not to mention it's impact on climate change.

I'm beggining to understand that Marxists who supposedly base everything on economics actually don't understand even the ABCs of economic realities - like nothing is free and you can't spend the money saved on scrapping trident five hundred times over.

Local Green Party response here

scott redding said...

Here in Coventry, our buses are private. The bus operators don't have a city-wide referendum when they want to raise the prices. They don't have a city-wide referendum to ask us if the buses run on time, or are unclean, or unsafe, or if we want to be able to get change from the driver (we need to use exact).

Maybe Manchester just shouldn't have had a referendum!

Cruella said...

Oh well fair enough I suppose if the residents of Manchester aren't in the mood for it, lets kill the whole planet.

Of course what they should be doing is sorting out public transport so the mancunians aren't afraid to vote "yes" next time.

Jim Jay said...

I agree Cruella - we need to get better at persuading people and to ensure that the alternaitves are in place.

On a related issue - how will we be able to disuade people from taking short haul flights if the trains are unreliable and more expensive?