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Government rejects TIF blackmail charge

The Government has rejected the charge that it 'blackmails' local authorities into introducing congestion charging schemes to win Transport Innovation Fund (TIF) money.

The Department for Transport was responding to 61 points put to it by the cross-party transport select committee.

The committe said, "We do not accept that Congestion TIF guidance should, in effect, restrict the availability of funds for much needed improvements in transport infrastructure to only those authorities that will consider local road pricing schemes.

"This risks blackmailing local authorities to conduct road pricing trials on behalf of Government in advance of a possible national scheme."

In response, the Government said it, "rejects the suggestion that local authorities are being blackmailed and forced to introduce charging schemes against their will."

TIF money will be available to local authorities from 2008/09. Next year, £290M will be available, but this figure rises to £2.55bn available by 2014/15.

The Government did concede that, "additional funding is linked to innovative demand management measures," but that, "we are making unprecedented levels of funding available to support demand management and better public transport."

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