THERESA May has pledged to abolish tolls on the Severn Crossings between England and Wales if the Conservatives are re-elected.

The Conservatives have said the charges would be scrapped next year when Highways England takes over responsibility for the bridges from Severn Crossings plc.

It will bring a £100million boost to the local economy, the Conservatives say.

Labour has also said the party will work with the Welsh Government to scrap the tolls.

Mrs May said: “I want to ensure that our economic progress is shared across the United Kingdom.

"By abolishing tolls for 25 million annual journeys between two nations we will strengthen the links between communities.

"This will drive economic growth right across the country helping key economic centres in Cardiff, Bath, Bristol and Newport.

“By significantly reducing the cost of doing business between Wales and England, the Conservatives continue to deliver on improving the economic prospects of ordinary working people."

The move was backed by commuters and communities on both sides of the crossings during a public consultation that closed in March. Secretary of State for Wales, Alun Cairns, said: “Scrapping the Severn Crossing tolls is an example of the Conservatives of taking the big decisions when they’re the right decisions, in doing so, transforming the joint economic prospects of South Wales and the South West of England. "Drivers using this key artery between two nations, en route to London, will benefit from a £100m boost to the local area."

Previously the Government proposed to reduce the toll to £3 when the crossings go into public ownership next year.

A spokesman for Plaid Cymru said: "The Conservatives trying to coax Welsh voters to support them with promises of a cut to the Severn Bridge toll is laughable.

"They have spent years prevaricating and had ample opportunity to do this, but they have refused.

"Only four months ago the Tories decided to announce a new regime of tolls for the Severn Bridge and now they are promising something completely different – voters won’t fall for this vacuous politics.

"Plaid Cymru is committed to scrapping the tolls and we will continue be so."

Jessica Morden, Welsh Labour’s candidate for Newport East and long-time Severn Toll campaigner, said:

“The Tories are fooling no one with their cynical election announcement on Severn Tolls.

“As MP for Newport East, I have been campaigning for years, with the support of Carwyn Jones and Welsh Labour colleagues in the Assembly, to get the Tory UK-Government to take action on tolls and relieve the huge burden they place on local residents and businesses.

“Welsh Labour is committed to scrapping tolls, and will do so in government. The Tories may claim that they’ll axe tolls now, but as we know from bitter experience, the claims they make at election time are not worth the paper they’re written on.”

Pippa Bartolotti, deputy leader of Wales Green Party, said: “Scrapping the Severn Bridge toll will only help the already privileged – those who own cars.

"If we are to become a more equal society we need to provide good public transport options for those who are ready to work, but cannot get to work because they do not own a car.

"Scrapping the toll completely will mean that non-car owners and non-bridge users across the UK will ultimately pay the millions a year in maintenance through their taxes.

"That’s a shoddy deal. Why not scrap the toll for non-polluting vehicles and send a serious message that the UK is ready to stand by its commitment to cleaner air.  

“The Severn Bridge toll will be reduced when the profit element is removed, but to completely cut it is tantamount to another tax break for the privileged. Let’s invest the income in a public transport network fit for a low carbon future, and make work accessible to everyone.”

A UKIP Wales spokesman said: “This is yet another UKIP policy stolen by Theresa May & the Tories.

"UKIP has led the debate on this topic over the past year in the National Assembly.

"We are encouraged that the other parties agree with us now that it is election time, but they don’t exactly have a very good track record in delivering on their promises. The Tories and Labour are promising the world, but they don’t seem to have worked out how to pay for it all as yet."