1. ITV Report

Scrapping tolls could 'improve living standards' in Wales

Credit: PA

Experts from local government, education, private and academic sectors from South Wales and South West England will meet with the Secretary of State for Wales, Alun Cairns, for the UK Government Severn Growth Summit this morning.

More than 350 guests will attend the event designed to explore how links between the Welsh and English economies can be strengthened following the recent reduction and the abolition of the Severn Tolls later this year.

While the iconic Severn Crossings have served commuters, businesses and local communities in Wales and England for over 50 years, they have also been a symbol of an economic barrier and hindrance to Wales' future prosperity. The cost to cross the Severn Estuary has for far too long prevented people and businesses from integrating in a way that a natural economy would encourage.

A collective voice is an effective voice and I believe such cross-border co-operation will transform the economies of south Wales and the south west of England.

The UK Government has listened and has delivered on the promise made to the people of Wales by the Prime Minister by confirming that we will abolish the tolls to all vehicles at the end of 2018.

– Alun Cairns, Secretary of State for Wales
The Secretary of State for Wales says scrapping tolls could 'improve living standards' in Wales. Credit: PA

At the end of 2018, the Severn Tolls will be scrapped for all vehicles.

Alun Cairns says this will mean the Western side of the UK can compete with the Northern Powerhouse, the Midlands Engine and the economy of London and the South Wast.

In the past the Bristol City Region has largely tended to look east to London and the South East instead of also forging closer links with its close neighbours less than an hour’s drive away.

Bristol and its wider city region and South Wales will have more in common than ever before and this is a great opportunity for the business community to make the most of those shared interests.

– James Durie, Chief Executive Business West at Chambers of Commerce & Initiative