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The big C-charge/TIF question: beam me up Scotty

What’s in a question? Everything says the anti-TIF brigade. Plus Kellogg’s given a kicking

Published on October 21st 2008.

The big C-charge/TIF question: beam me up Scotty

So we finally have the proposed question for the poll which closes on December 11.

People will be asked: Would you like £3bn spent on developing Star Trek technology which would allow people to be ‘beamed’ across Greater Manchester in an instant or not?

We jest, of course.

The question people will be asked in the postal only vote will be: Do you agree with the Transport Innovation Fund (TIF) proposal?

This is the process. Residents across Greater Manchester will receive a voting pack with the TIF plans. This will ask them to read an accompanying leaflet which details the proposed investment of up to £3bn in public transport and the imposition of a week day, peak time congestion charge. It will be pointed out that congestion charging will not be introduced until 80 per cent of the public transport improvements are in place. Then they will be asked to consider the above question (not the Star Trek one) and post back their decision by December 11.

If a majority of residents in more than seven out of the 10 councils of Greater Manchester vote yes then the TIF bid will be carried forward.

Those opposed to the plans, such as Sue Williams, Leader of Trafford Council, have said this will mislead voters as the two words ‘congestion’ and ‘charge’ won’t be mentioned in the question.

This is probably a spurious claim. If voters are so stupid as to not be aware of what they are voting on by the time they’ve read the leaflet, which does mention congestion charging, and then gone and posted it still without knowing congestion charging is involved, then their opinions probably count for little.

And after all, the congestion charge is only a part of the total TIF bid so any mention of it in the question would place too much weight on the big C-charge issue. It would make it appear as though this were a straight yes or no on that single – if most controversial – aspect.

Ray King in the Manchester Evening News hit the target better with his criticisms of TIF on Monday. He wondered, for example, if the bid would settle these three specific issues. Would it ease the rail bottleneck at Oxford Road Station, would it make our buses provide a service as good as London’s, would it give us Metrolink coverage as comprehensive as the Tube? To all these questions, the answer, he said, was no.

Ray King, is now called by the increasingly weird Evening News, as ‘the Man in the Know’ (he must be mortified). Given his response above he might better be known as the Man in the No. Still the main underlying question he poses is very pertinent. Will TIF deliver enough? Is it worth it? And that's what we must all answer through the evidence set before us by 11 December.

We also mentioned last week that if nothing else the TIF/Congestion Charge debate was making local politics interesting again. How it’s a real issue that we can get our teeth into right across the region....not that we’ve had an Obama figure involved yet. Sir Richard Leese, is this your time?

In the Independent on Monday it went national. The CleanAirNow group took out a full page ad called ‘Kellogg’s snap, crackle and pop’. This criticised the cereal maker for on one hand planning to cut energy use and become more sustainable whilst at the same time supporting the anti-Congestion Charge lobby. ‘Kellogg’s should stick to making cereal flakes instead of flaky transport policy’ the CleanAirNow group unfunnily punned in its closing sentence.

Interesting times are ahead.

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13 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

Chris Palmer Vote YesOctober 21st 2008.

Just to make it clear - our understanding in the Yes Campaign is that the ballot paper will contain text that mentions both an investment in public transport and a congestion charge.

LauraOctober 21st 2008.

Anon, you took the words right out of my mouth. On both points!

EditorialOctober 21st 2008.

The grammar's been given changed. Thanks. But the stupid point still works.

mark m.October 21st 2008.

I think the grammer worked anyhow. 'The opinion of the voters', with the voters being an entity, works

baked potatoe and cottage cheeseOctober 21st 2008.

If you vote No you are stupid! My two pen'orth is that as long as we dont have a TIF this City will continue to go somewhere very slowly. Car drivers, give it up without your emissions the City will be cleaner too. Business people who travel in and out all the time should be OK after half nine should'nt they? Please vote yes... B4 you pedants start yes I know my grammar is tripe they never taught us owt after 13 at our school

AnonymousOctober 21st 2008.

My girlfriend is thinking of buying a horse and riding into town from Levenshulme every day (that's what the 192 does for you). Does anyone know if this would be covered by the C-charge?

AnonymousOctober 21st 2008.

My girlfriend is thinking of buying a horse and riding into town from Levenshulme every day (that's what the 192 does for you). Does anyone know if this would be covered by the C-charge?

AnonymousOctober 21st 2008.

My girlfriend is thinking of buying a horse and riding into town from Levenshulme every day (that's what the 192 does for you). Does anyone know if this would be covered by the C-charge?

Artie FufkinOctober 21st 2008.

The question should be very simple: ...."is a congestion charge costing commuters up to £2,653 of gross salary a price worth paying for the transport changes outlined in the TIF proposal?"It's simple, that's the cost, this is what you get and what tdo you think. The very selfish or stupid will vote yes.

Artie FufkinOctober 21st 2008.

I hope Kellogs sue the rectum off the CleanAirNow group. The C-charge can only create more traffic overall and more pollution. TIF have been careful to not make any such claims as they know the C charge creates diplacement and jobs that don't move or are lost completely will move away from the city centre which creates more cars on the road.

Richard TurpinOctober 21st 2008.

Dick says: "Let me see, you want to borrow taxes, that you have already paid?"Tif says: "Yes sir, then we will spend it wisely on stagecoach(es)."Dick says: "If you borrow your money back, how will you pay it back again?"Tif says: "We'll charge the people who paid the tax in the first place."Dick says: "You borrow tax that has been paid, to tax the people who paid the tax? Why didn't I think of that????"

GropiusOctober 21st 2008.

Artie Fufkin - where do you get your *facts* ahem, from? I mean seriously? Have you been away for the last six months? The charge will not cost commuters £2k a year, it will not impact on 9 out of 10 journeys, it WILL reduce pollution and it IS the only option.

Artie FufkinOctober 21st 2008.

Gropius, I've used a technique called mathematics. You take the net cost of £1300 a year for a commuter, calculate how much that person needs to earn to afford a net £1300. A higher rate payer would have to earn £2635.As for reducing pollution. Even Tif do not claim that

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