WARRINGTON Borough Council's leader has expressed his anger after the Government announced the borough's motorists will have to pay to cross the new Mersey Gateway Bridge.

Cllr Terry O'Neill (LAB – Burtonwood and Winwick) said he is 'shocked and very disappointed' by the news and suggested Warrington South's MP David Mowat should 'perhaps be considering his position'.

The Government announcement, which was first reported by the Warrington Guardian yesterday, Tuesday, comes as a massive blow to the town's motorists.

Prior to the 2015 General Election, former Chancellor George Osborne made a pledge that those in Warrington and Cheshire West and Chester would have tolls waived.

However, after the U-turn some residents could be forced to fork out £1,080 a year.

Cllr O'Neill has expressed concerns in recent months following a lack of communication from ministers.

And he slammed the Government following confirmation tolls will not be waived.

He said: "Mr Osborne made a clear statement just before the election that our residents would not be paying tolls.

“This statement was made without qualification.

"Now we see that it was smoke and mirrors from the Government.

"You would have thought that, if Mr Osborne was making a statement he would have checked his facts – and there would be a plan.

"Instead, just like Brexit, we see it's 'making things up as we go along'.

"I can only conclude that Mr Osborne's statement was to influence voters in a nearby marginal seat.

"In fact, Warrington South MP David Mowat said at the time that he was 'delighted' that the Chancellor had said he would scrap the tolls and 'save Warrington drivers over £1,000 a year'.

"The fact that the Government has now performed a complete U-turn on this decision is shameful and just shows their pre-election statements were completely dishonest, contemptuous and misleading and perhaps Mr Mowat should be considering his position also.

"Cllr O'Neill is not happy with this decision and he will be writing to ministers to ask them to review it."

The six-lane bridge over the Mersey, between Runcorn and Widnes, will be tolled when it opens to traffic later this year, along with the existing Silver Jubilee Bridge.

There will be two main options for Warrington residents – just like anyone else who lives outside of Halton – to reduce toll costs.

A peak pass will cost £90 per month, with an off peak pass priced at £60.

The second option will be for motorists to register their vehicle with the tolling operator to receive up to 10 per cent off each trip, so a one-way trip would cost £1.80 instead of £2.

There will be a one-off £5 fee to register.