IT’S always a surprise to me when the Conservatives fail to remember that they have been in charge of our economy for the past 14 years, and somehow find a way to blame anyone other than themselves for the lack of funds to pay for essential infrastructure costs, such as the Tamar bridge and ferries.

In the past week, the current MP for South East Cornwall, Sheryll Murray, spoke about the Tamar tolls in Parliament. Whilst it was great to see local issues discussed in Westminster, I do not agree with Sheryll’s decision to not allow other Members to speak in the debate.

If I were to be elected as your new MP, I would always create a space for open discussion of our community’s issues, ensuring that local people are put first and get the best outcomes.

If there had been a proper debate in the House of Commons, people would have heard more about Labour’s call for a cheaper toll for local people rather than the Conservative plan to freeze the toll at the higher rate. I’m campaigning for cheaper tolls for local people which will help families with the cost of living crisis and keep the bridge and ferry operating normally.

Living in the constituency, I understand how important it is that crossing the Tamar is affordable, reliable and beneficial for local people and local businesses. Without these vital services, people cannot get to their employment, education, socialise with friends and family or attend medical appointments.

Labour analysis suggests that implementing a toll freeze without funds from central government would exhaust Tamar Crossings’ financial reserves within a year and cause a £1-million cut to the bridge and ferry budget, jeopardising the vital service that we rely on – this is something I simply cannot support.

Labour’s plan aims to benefit local people. Cash fares would be increased to ensure that the service we rely on can continue but the Tamar Tag would make the toll even cheaper for locals. Visitor cash fares would be reinvested in the Tamar crossing infrastructure, maintaining jobs and increasing benefits to locals.

Unlike the Tory plan, there would be no cut to the funds available and, importantly, no need to balance the reduced budget by removing one of the three Torpoint ferries.

No one wants to pay tolls but we understand that this pays for a safe, efficient ferry and bridge service. I am dedicated to finding solutions that work for local people and local businesses, allowing our community to grow and thrive.

Please contact me with any issues or concerns that you have and I would welcome the chance to hear from you, my email address is [email protected] and you can also follow me on Twitter/X @annagelderd

Anna Gelderd, the Labour Party’s parliamentary candidate for South East Cornwall