National Alliance Against Tolls - Dunfermline and West Fife By-election 2006 - No Tolls candidate

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Dunfermline and West Fife By-election - No Tolls candidate

tom Tom Minogue is contesting the Dunfermline and West Fife By-election as a No Tolls candidate under the banner of "Abolish Forth Bridge Tolls Party". The party was set up by Fife members of National Alliance Against Tolls Scotland.

Tom is a 61 year old retired businessman who has lived in Rosyth and Dunfermline all of his life. He served a craft apprenticeship in Rosyth Dockyard and left for a period to serve in the merchant navy before returning home to marry and work in the construction industry on various projects before setting up his own business in 1978.

Tom's company Kingdom Engineering (Fife) Ltd, were based at Cowdenbeath and also had premises at Bo'ness. At its peak in 1987 Kingdom employed over 200 skilled craftsmen. Among the many prestigious projects carried out by Tom's company was the fabrication and installation of 150 tonnes of deck steelwork on the Forth Road Bridge.

In 2003 Tom retired and wound up his business after a 25 years contribution to the Fife economy. On retirement Tom was active in civic issues and became involved in the Public Inquiry held in 2004 to hear objections to a proposed rise in the Forth Bridge toll.

George Campbell the lone protester against the toll increase was supported in his objection by Tom and John McGoldrick of NAAT. After the Inquiry Tom and George, set up a Scottish branch of NAAT and this group have been the only consistent opposition to the tolls on the Forth Road Bridge.

This opposition has taken many forms including legal challenge in the High Court and a Public Petition to the Scottish Parliament which has attracted over 1,000 signatures.

The Abolish Forth Bridge Tolls Party will campaign to have Tom elected to Westminster where he will pressurize Gordon Brown to live up to his 1985 promise to abolish the "excessive and unreasonable" tolls.

Press Release 24 January 2006
A NO TOLL Independent candidate will contest the forthcoming Dunfermline West By-election.

Tom Minogue was unanimously selected as the candidate at a meeting of NAAT Scotland on Monday night (23rd January) in the Lochgelly Centre, Fife. The Alliance is opposed to Scotland's three remaining tolls at Erskine, the Forth and the Tay. The election will concentrate on the existing Forth road bridge tolls.

Tom Minogue said - "The tolls are currently due to end by the 31st March, but all the existing politicians are doing is making empty "promises" that they will not increase them. The existing unfair (and possibly illegal) tolls still being charged on a bridge long since paid for are an insult to bridge users. These tolls punish hardest those least able to afford them, and are damaging to the economy of Fife."

While recent statements by Gordon Brown MP, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, have hinted that the 4 toll proposed by Labour dominated FETA has been abandoned by the Scottish Executive, no announcement to that effect has been made by the Executive, and there is nothing to prevent the Executive from applying a 4 (or similar sum) punitive toll to encourage car-sharing once the By-election is out of the way. Nor does Mr Brown make any reference to the existing tolls which he opposed when in opposition.

Dr Gordon Brown MP's stated aim when he opposed the tolls in 1985 was the complete removal of tolls-something that he now conveniently forgets-if he failed to keep his promise on the original tolls why should we listen to his latest promises?

Dr Brown's 1985 Private Member's Bill to Parliament for the abolition of tolls on the Forth and Tay Bridges, and his evidence to the Public Inquiry in 1985 will feature large in NAAT Scotland's election campaign. It should be noted that when Gordon Brown argued for the abolition of tolls in 1985 the bridge was 10 years away from being paid for. Today, 20 years on the bridge has been long since paid for and FETA who operate the bridge have 17 million in the bank. Now FETA have committed 7 million of toll payer's money towards the construction of electronic toll booths to collect their proposed increased toll-despite the fact that the tolling licence expires in March 2006. This arrogant act must have been noticed by Dr Brown as his chauffeur driven Ministerial limousine sped him to and from his North Queensferry home-yet it was only the advent of the By-election that caused him to become involved in a subject that he once professed a passionate conviction for.

Dr Brown is not alone in latching on to the unpopular tolls on the Forth Road Bridge as a vote winner for his party. Prior to the advent of a By-election none of the major political parties had seen fit to take on this fight and it was left to a NAAT Scotland member, George Campbell to fight the last toll rise in 2004-he did so confident in the knowledge that the 20% rise then proposed by FETA was the thin end of the wedge-he was right.

In fielding Tom Minogue as a NOTOLL candidate for the Dunfermline West By-election NAAT Scotland are giving the people of the constituency a chance to give the Government a black-eye by electing a truly independent MP who in tight votes at Westminster would have the power to negotiate major benefits (beginning with toll removal) on contentious local issues for the people of Dunfermline.

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