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Last Updated: Thursday, 21 June 2007, 13:49 GMT 14:49 UK
Businesses 'opposed' to c-charge
Traffic on Oxford Road, Manchester
The charging plans have to be approved by the government
Four out of five businesses are opposed to congestion charging in Greater Manchester, according to a survey.

Under the plans, motorists will pay up to 5 to drive into central Manchester and out again on the busiest roads at the busiest times.

The survey, carried out by Peel Holdings, also found 80% of those questioned would vote against the charge in a referendum.

Supporters of the proposed charge have described the results as a "con".

Roger Jones, Chairman of the Greater Manchester Passenger Transport Authority, led the backlash against the survey.

He said: "I have nothing but contempt for what Peel are trying to do, because in my opinion they're trying to con the public into believing that all businesses are against the packages of public transport improvements and congestion charging, and that is simply not true."

It will hamstring businesses and drive away potential investors
Andrew Simpson, Peel Holdings

Peel Holdings owns The Trafford Centre, City Airport Manchester and the MediaCity:UK site at Salford, where the BBC is planning to move to.

Andrew Simpson, managing director of the company, said: "This tax is a cause of serious concern to employers and those who drive the Manchester economy.

"It will hamstring businesses and drive away potential investors in the city.

"In the global economy, many businesses are footloose - in other words, they can relocate easily. This kind of disincentive will only encourage visitors to go elsewhere."

Under the congestion charging plans, electronic tags will be issued to charge people passing through an outer ring bordered by the M60 and an inner ring nearer the city centre.

The scheme is proposed by the Association of Greater Manchester Authorities (AGMA).

A public consultation is currently being carried out.


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