Commuters to save as VAT charges lifted on Severn bridges

Severn Bridge

Severn Bridge

Commuters, drivers and businesses across South Wales and South West England are set to make major savings from today, when the UK Government reduces the charges to cross the Severn bridges.

All vehicles will now 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.

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

Businesses across the area will also benefit by not paying over £16 for lorries to cross the Severn. The abolition is estimated to 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 for decades. 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.

“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.”