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Baker: Government 'arm-twisting' to blame for Manchester 'No' vote

Liberal Democrat shadow transport secretary Norman Baker has criticised the government for its tactics in pushing for the £3bn Transport Innovation Fund (TIF) vote fiasco.

"Local people have clearly rejected the Government’s centralised and prescriptive approach," he said.

"Today’s result is not a condemnation of the principle of congestion charging but a response to the specific Manchester scheme and the Government’s attempt to force councils to follow one single route.

"Manchester mustn't be punished for today's vote. The city may now lose vital investment, yet major public transport improvements are just as necessary as before.

"People will be much more likely to back limits on car use if they have decent alternatives.

"The Government's failed attempt at arm-twisting is in danger of giving road pricing a bad name. A revenue-neutral system of road pricing should replace Vehicle Excise Duty and provide a fairer, greener motoring charge," he said.

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