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Better to abolish Severn tolls than devolve them say Lib Dems

Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Kirsty Williams has dismissed calls for the Severn tolls to be devolved to the Welsh Government, saying it would be better for Wales to abolish them altogether.

The First Minister has previously called for responsibility for the tolls and their income to be transferred and, in response to the Lib Dem pledge, the Welsh Government has said it should 'have a say'when the bridges return to public ownership.

But Kirsty Williams says no UK Government is likely to agree to such a move.


Welsh Govt: 'Wales should have a say on tolls future'

The Welsh Government says it has 'made clear' to the UK Government that Wales should have a say on the future of the Severn Bridge tolls.

The Department of Transport and the Highway Agency is currently responsible for both crossings, including the level of the tolls.

However, we have made it clear to the UK Government that we should have a say on future of the tolls after the end of the current concession agreement with Severn River Crossing PLC.

– Welsh Government spokesperson

Welsh Lib Dems: 'Shouldn't have to pay to enter Wales'

The Welsh Liberal Democrats say they are 'delighted' that the party has pledged to scrap Severn Bridge tolls.

We are the only party that will completely scrap the unfair Severn Bridge tolls.

This announcement will offer a huge boost to the Welsh economy and save the average commuter around £1,536 a year. It will help to build a strong economy and a fairer society.

These tolls shouldn’t be used as a money-maker by either the Welsh or UK Government. Tolls are extremely rare in the UK, so I see no reason why people should be forced to pay to enter Wales.

– Kirsty Williams, leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats

Liberal Democrats pledge to scrap Severn Bridge tolls

The party says it will scrap the tolls if successful in the next General Election Credit: Julia Bayne/Eye Ubiquitous/Press Association Images

The Liberal Democrats have pledged to scrap the Severn Bridge tolls if the party is successful in the forthcoming General Election.

The commitment will be outlined in the party's ‘pre-manifesto’ in September.

The Severn Crossings are managed by a private concessionaire, which is due to end when enough revenue target is collected from tolls - predicted to be sometime in 2018.

Once the bridges are transferred into public ownership and debts are repaid, the Liberal Democrats say they will abolish the tolls.

Cardiff MP to make Lib Dem history at cabinet table

Jenny Willott is the MP for Cardiff Central Credit: ITV News

Cardiff Central MP Jenny Willott will become the first Liberal Democrat woman to sit at the cabinet table today.

Although she does not have full cabinet minister rank, the 39 year old will take her seat alongside new women's minister, Tory MP Nicky Morgan, to make a presentation on coalition efforts to close the gender pay gap.

In her new role, Ms Willott will promote more family-friendly workplaces and tackle issues around discrimination. She will attend cabinet when issues related to shared parental leave and workplace rights are on the agenda.

Ms Willott said: "This is a really exciting opportunity to tackle an issue I'm passionate about at the very heart of government.

"I'm looking forward to sitting around the cabinet table to promote longstanding Liberal Democrat priorities such as making workplaces more family-friendly and closing the gender pay gap."


Kirsty Williams: Wales 'let down' by Welsh Government

Welsh Liberal Democrat leader Kirsty Williams has been speaking on the second day of her party's conference in Newport.

Labour attacks 'irrelevant' Lib Dems

Welsh Labour has attacked the Welsh Liberal Democrats ahead of a speech in which the party's leader Kirsty Williams is expected to criticise the First Minister for his oversight of public services in Wales. A Labour spokesperson said,

Nick Clegg's Liberal Democrats are a growing irrelevance in Wales. They are shouting louder and louder to try and fill smaller and emptier conference halls.

If Kirsty Williams wanted to make Liberals relevant again she could start by demanding an end to the Tory war on Wales. Instead the Libs seem to be saddling up alongside Westminster coalition partners to denigrate the public sector in Wales, using the same bogus arguments and dodgy statistics for political gain. And they have failed miserably to support Wales on rail electrification.

– Welsh Labour spokesperson

Only Lib Dems stand up for Europe says Kirsty Williams

Welsh Liberal Democrat leader Kirsty Williams is expected to say that only her party is defending Britain's membership of the European Union. She'll use a slogan quoted repeatedly during the Welsh Lib Dem conference, saying 'we are the only party of IN.'

With the European Parliamentary election just six weeks away, Lib Dem leaders have accused the other parties of failing to stand up to the UKIP challenge. In her speech to the Welsh Liberal Democrat conference, Kirsty Williams will join the attacks.

There is simply no point in voting Labour in the European elections, they are too scared to have a voice on Europe and squandered billions of EU funds.

The Tories are a mess. Cameron continues to pander to Euro-skeptics and to UKIP.

And then of course, there is Plaid Cymru – who want to have their cake and eat it. They cannot credibly call for Welsh independence yet proclaim they stand for Europe.

Plaid might be infighting and sacking people over attacks on UKIP, but the irony is, they have similarities: they are two separatist parties and both of them could take us Out of the EU. Plaid’s dream of independence could threaten thousands of jobs. Yes they sneer at UKIP, but you don’t fight little England nationalism by trumping it with Welsh nationalism.

– Kirsty Williams AM, Welsh Liberal Democrat leader
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