Garth Harkness

Liberal Democrat Councillor for Saddleworth North Ward on Oldham Council Learn more

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Liberal Democrats help tram passengers with travel costs

by Garth Harkness on 9 March, 2020

Councillor Garth Harkness highlights recent work done by the Liberal Democrats to make life easier for Tram passengers across the network. This work comes from the Oldham Liberal Democrat motion proposed by Councillor Harkness. This is to the 18th March full council meeting, 6pm. The idea behind the scheme is to do with tax relief.

From Shaw to Manchester City Centre, an annual season ticket costs a Metrolink Tram commuter £1,154. For a bus commuter, it’s £670.

To make it easier for tram passengers in Oldham Borough, Councillor Garth Harkness and the Liberal Democrat group will urge the Chief Executive of Oldham Council to write to the Prime Minister to introduce a tax relief scheme for Tram passengers.

Councillor Harkness commented: “The Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, called for a similar scheme in 2013 where employers help passengers. People who work for them would then have reduced travel costs through tax relief scheme.”

“I see no reason why the Prime Minister should not support this now in 2020, in our Northern Powerhouse.”

“We need to do everything we can to make public transport more attractive and this is one measure that can help”


Motion tabled to full council below:

Council March 18, 2020 – Notice of Opposition Business

Motion 1 – Tax relief for tramline travel

This Council notes that:

  • In his article for the Daily Telegraph ‘Tax Relief just the Ticket’ (6 October 2013), journalist Boris Johnson called for employees to be ‘allowed to pay for their season tickets from their pre-tax income.’
  • Mr Johnson advocated for the introduction of a new tax relief scheme, limited to the basic rate, whereby ‘the employer would buy the season ticket and deduct the cost from his or her (employee’s) pay packet – and only then would the employee be assessed for tax.’
  • The impact of such a scheme would mean that employees would have less taxable income reducing their liability for income tax and national insurance and the employer would also save on national insurance contributions.
  • An annual season ticket costs a Metrolink tram commuter from Shaw to Manchester £1,154, a Train commuter from Greenfield to Manchester £1,208, and a Bus commuter with First Manchester £670.
  • Such a tax-relief scheme would represent a significant financial saving for our Borough’s commuters.
  • Council further notes that now Mr Johnson is Prime Minister he has it within his power to put his aspirations for tax relief on seasonal travel tickets into practice.

Council resolves to:

  • Council resolves to ask the Chief Executive to write to the Prime Minister and Chancellor of The Exchequer to request that this Government introduces a tax-relief scheme.
  • This would be on seasonal travel tickets (following the principles outlined in Mr Johnson’s Telegraph article in 2013) making this effective as soon as possible.

Proposed by: Councillor Garth Harkness                      

Seconded by: Councillor Louie Hamblett                                                                      

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