A POLITICAL row has erupted over the £1,080-a-year bill facing Warrington’s motorists for crossing the new Mersey Gateway Bridge – two years on from George Osborne’s broken promise.

Mr Osborne, who will not be seeking re-election in the General Election after being appointed as editor of the London Evening Standard, pledged that motorists in Warrington and Cheshire West and Chester would have tolls waived in April 2015.

However, in January ministers made a U-turn after confirming extending the discount scheme to Knowsley, Liverpool City Council and St Helens would cost around £604 million.

The six-lane bridge between Runcorn and Widnes is due to open this autumn.

It will be tolled along with the existing Silver Jubilee Bridge.

Free tolls will be available for eligible Halton residents and blue badge holders once they have paid a small fee to register.

There will be no toll booths. Instead automatic number plate reading technology will scan vehicles and registered users will get a special sticker to attach to their windscreens to identify them as they cross the river.

The standard toll charge to cross either bridge will be £2 for a one-way trip in a car or a small van.

A discount pass for residents living outside Halton is set to be priced at £90 per month, amounting to £1,080 a year.

Labour Stockton Heath parish councillor Nick Bent has hit out at the Conservatives and Mr Osborne.

He said: “This could be the biggest local issue of the election as everybody will be hit by worse traffic congestion and some commuters will be over £1,000 out of pocket every year.

“With enough public pressure, we can rescue the situation.

“Osborne is quitting but the public promise the Tories made still binds the whole Tory Government.

“David Mowat is a Tory minister and his blatant failure to keep his promise on this should cost him thousands of votes.”

David Mowat MP has responded to the criticism.

He said: “This election will be a choice between strong, stable leadership under Theresa May or Jeremy Corbyn and Nicola Sturgeon’s coalition of chaos.”

UKIP believes residents ‘will not forget’ the ‘cast-iron pledge’ from Mr Osborne.

A spokesman added: “Since the Conservatives won the Warrington South seat with such a slim majority, it is likely that David Mowat benefited from this broken promise.”

Warrington and Halton Green Party’s transport spokesman Mike Wass said: “We believe initial commitments to fund the new Mersey Gateway Bridge at national level should be honoured to avoid tolls adversely distorting local travel patterns.”