WIRRAL Euro MP Paul Nuttall has condemned the proposed rise in tunnel charges.

Merseytravel board members are this week expected to rubber-stamp a report from chief executive Neil Scales which recommends an April hike in tunnel charges for car drivers from £1.40 to £1.60.

Mr Nuttall, UKIP MP for Merseyside, is calling for the tolls to be scrapped altogether in a move to "kick start" economic growth.

He said: "All bridge tolls have been ditched in Scotland and we should follow suit.

"This would encourage people to travel over to Liverpool for shopping and also encourage shoppers to come over to the Wirral.

"It would kick-start the economy, which would plainly be a very welcome boost, particularly for Birkenhead and Wallasey."

He continued "Everyone is struggling to make ends meet and daily commuters, whether by car or bus, will be horrified to learn that even more money will be leaving their pocket just to get to work.

"The existing tolls are a bad enough burden on businesses, particularly small ones, and this proposed rise will inevitably be passed onto customers.

"The answer is to ditch tolls and help the economy.

"Merseytravel claim that toll increases help protect the tunnels against increased congestion and if the toll was scrapped traffic would increase by up to 40%.

"They talk of extra congestion but if the toll booths were not there traffic would flow much easier.

"Money would be saved on toll booth staff and I do not believe claims that a net £80m of retail spending would be lost from the Wirral."

"Also every time the toll charge goes up it seems so does the cross-river bus fares. If tolls were scrapped surely fares could be reduced which would encourage more passengers and help reduce the number of cars on the road."