THe Humber Bridge Board was in desperate talks today to try and resolve a rift between local authorities that threatens to derail chancellor George Osborne’s plan to cut toll fares from £3 to £1.50.
In his Autumn Statement Osborne said he would write off a big chunk of the bridge’s outstanding £330M debt in order to allow tolls to be cut. Under his proposed deal the remaining £150M debt would be transferred from central government to the four local authorities responsible for the bridge. The debt would be shared equally between Hull, North Lincolnshire, North East Lincolnshire and East Riding councils.
However the leader of North East Lincolnshire Chris Shaw – which covers Grimsby and Cleethorpes – believes the debt should be split differently, with councils with greater populations paying more.
The bridge board is meeting to try and resolve the impasse. It is made up of 22 members appointed by and represented by the local authorities each side of the River Humber, with 12 from Hull City Council.