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Friday, 26 July, 2002, 15:43 GMT 16:43 UK
Storm over road tolls job advert
Princes Street, Edinburgh
The council wants to ease traffic congestion
The Scottish Executive has been accused of a "stitch-up" over plans for road charges for Edinburgh following the publication of a job advert.

The Tories attacked the release of an advert for a civil servant tasked with implementing the plans before the executive's consultation exercise has concluded.

The proposal would see drivers being charged 2 in a drive to reduce traffic levels in the city centre by 15%.

An internal advert on the executive's website said it was looking for a "dynamic and self motivated person" to work with the council on the plan.

David McLetchie
David McLetchie: "The tolls plan is a stitch-up"

The move has angered the Scottish Conservatives who said the advert proves the consultation process is a "sham".

However, a spokeswoman for the executive said the advert "clearly acknowledges that the road user charging scheme in Edinburgh is a proposal".

The public is being consulted on a number of options aimed at reducing traffic congestion in the Scottish capital.

One is to maintain the status quo, and the other is to introduce 2 charges by 2006, for motorists entering specific parts of the city.

The city council is planning to spend 1.5bn over the next 10 to 15 years on public transport which could be funded by a congestion charging scheme.

Scots Tory leader David McLetchie attacked the advertisement.

'Come what may'

"This advert shows the tolls plan is a stitch-up between the council and the Scottish Executive," he said.

"They are assuming public approval. The advert says it is 'to help implement' the scheme.

"The consultation is a complete sham and the outcome has been prejudged.

Car light
The advert has sparked controversy

"Labour and their Liberal Democrat allies are determined to push this through come what may."

The Labour/Liberal coalition was determined to push the proposal through, he added.

However, an executive spokeswoman said: "There is no approval even in principle as yet for any proposal relating to road user charging in Edinburgh.

"Ministers will only approve local authority road user charging schemes where they provide for significant public transport improvements prior to the introduction of any scheme."

It was important that the executive prepared for various proposals that come forward and that was the sole purpose of the advert, she added.

See also:

17 Jul 02 | Scotland
09 Jun 02 | Scotland
01 Jun 02 | Politics
26 Feb 02 | UK
04 Sep 01 | Scotland
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