Have we just witnessed the end of the congestion-charge in Britain?

ccharge The vote in Greater Manchester has just resoundingly rejected plans for peak-time congestion charges inside the M60, despite the carrot of improved public transport.

One million people turned out - a healthy 52 percent - and rejected it in all of Greater Manchester's 10 boroughs. It seems like the final blow for road tolls. A couple of weeks ago Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, also scrapped the western extension of the capital's C-Charge.

And a few years ago Edinburgh also rejected a C-charge scheme.

The government had bet the farm on getting drivers to cross-subsidise an expansion of local bus services through toll payments. The legislation was in place and it was hoping Manchester would go first, to be followed by other conurbations.

Perhaps if one man can be blamed for the failure of C-Charging to expand outside of the centre of the capital, it is ex-London mayor Ken Livingstone.

His rushed and crude charging system in London, which was expensive to administer, rose dramatically in price and raised more in fines (£74m) than it did in tolls (£64m). The 'yes' campaigners were forced to plead that the Manchester system would be nothing like London's scheme.

But with that battle won, there's another one looming. The Government have already armed local councils with the ability to slap a charge on workplace parking spaces provided by an employer. Some estimates say the average tax could be £350 per year for each space.

Road tolls may be dead for the next few years, but the government’s desperation to get more money out of drivers is completely undiminished.

A note of warning to Mancunians. When Edinburgh city council had its tolls plan thrown out, it took revenge by digging up and blocking off many city centre streets, in order to ‘reduce congestion’. The resulting chaos forced them to reverse the changes within 12 months.