Severn toll reductions come into force bringing big savings to drivers and firms

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Motorists and businesses are set to make major savings as the Government reduces the charges to cross the Severn bridges.

From Monday all vehicles will be exempt from VAT, meaning car drivers will pocket an extra £1.10 as the charge for individual crossings reduces from £6.70 to £5.60.

This change will also lift an administrative burden for business users, who will no longer need to claim back VAT.

The move is expected to save regular motorists around £1,400 per year, making it far cheaper to travel to Cardiff, Newport or Bristol.

Businesses across the area will also benefit by not paying over £16 for lorries to cross the Severn.

A Welsh Government study previously estimated that the abolition of VAT on toll charges would boost the Welsh economy by over £100 million a year.

The reduction comes as the crossings return to public ownership, with Highways England, a UK-Government owned body, taking over responsibility for the bridges’ operation and management from Severn River Crossing PLC.

Drivers are set to benefit further when the UK Government abolishes the charges completely by the end of 2018.

Secretary of State for Wales Alun Cairns said: “In less than a year we will see the biggest economic stimulus for south Wales and the valleys.

“This important move taken by the Prime Minister and the UK Government in regard to the Severn Crossings represents a clear symbol of breaking down the economic and historic barriers which have hindered Wales’ prosperity, whilst supporting the union of the United Kingdom.

“My number one priority as Secretary of State was to remove the tolls, which will not only make journeys cheaper for commuters and tourists, but will also create exciting opportunities for businesses and investors looking to make their mark in Wales.

“This will boost Welsh employment and establish lasting relationships between the economies and communities of South Wales and South West England, creating the most natural growth corridor spanning from Cardiff through Newport to Bristol.

“It is time to make politics fit business, not business fit politics in Wales.”

The first Severn Bridge was opened in September 1966, providing a direct link from the M4 motorway into Wales, with a toll in place for use of the bridge to pay for the cost of construction. In 1996 the second crossing opened to the public.

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