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Edinburgh council calls on local businesses for support

EDINBURGH COUNCIL is to give the city's top businessmen a voice in the creation of its integrated transport strategy to help it retain control of congestion charging revenues.

The council's transport committee is expected to agree on Monday to an independent Transport Advisory Group made up of 12 key local 'economic stake holders'.

They will include the Scottish CBI chief executive, senior representatives from the AA and Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce, and will be chaired by the principal of Edinburgh University.

'Creation of the TAG will ensure that we will have the backing of local businesses,' said Transport Committee chair David Begg this week. 'If we do not have their backing we will not go ahead.'

Begg believes the support of the independent TAG will give the council greater influence with the new Scottish Parliament, particularly in discussions over allocation of revenues from future congestion charging plans.

'The key issues with congestion charging are political and public acceptability,' said Begg. 'Everyone accepts the principles of congestion charging if the money goes back into public transport. The Transport Advisory Group will give us extra influence with central government to make sure it does.'

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