Clean Air Zone “isn’t fair and is fundraising”

Liberal Democrat Councillor Sam Al-Hamdani has challenged Andy Burnham’s assertion to the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (11/01/22) that the Clean Air Zone was not aimed at raising funds, and that the intention was that people should see that it was fair.

He said: “The money raised from the Clean Air Zone has to go into projects to address transport issues and reduce pollution. If Andy Burnham means it when he says that this charge is not for fundraising, he should get the ten local authorities to commit that every penny raised goes into helping businesses to pay for the upgraded vehicles that they need to avoid the charge.

“He is calling on the Government to commit the money to pay for this hardship fund. Well, I think we shouldn’t be telling the Government what to do, we should be showing them.”

Burnham’s manifesto committed Greater Manchester to implementing the Clean Air Zone, while promising that not a single job or business would be lost as a result.

Councillor Al-Hamdani continued: “I believe in a fairer way. I believe that if the Labour-run local authorities were really committed to this not being a ‘stealth tax’, they would plough all of that money back into helping local businesses to thrive and be environmentally friendly at the same time.

“If that can’t be delivered, then this unfair implementation of a Clean Air Zone needs to be scrapped before another penny is wasted, and other ways found to cut air pollution.

“People in our region work hard. They are fair. They can see when someone else is doing the same. At the moment, they don’t see it in Andy Burnham’s Clean Air Zone proposals.”

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