A FIRM of commercial consultants has added its voice to the rising protest about proposed congestion charges in Manchester city centre.

Consultants at business transfer agent SBS Commercial, in Lever Street, Bolton, regularly travel along the A6053 into Manchester, which is one of the main corridor routes under threat of being hit with a congestion charge.

Drivers could face paying up to £2,000 per year to use the busiest roads, meaning people located outside of the city, travelling in, could be hit hard financially. There are also plans to charge drivers using the main roads into Bolton.

John Gower, operations director at SBS Commercial, said: "At least one of our consultants travels into Manchester for an appointment every day, sometimes more, so introducing a congestion charge would cost the business a fortune.

"It's hard enough for outer city-based businesses to compete with city centre companies and hitting us with a congestion charge will prove to be a great financial burden.

"Although the money would free up funds for an extension of the Metrolink, there are still many locations, such as Bolton, that are not included in the plans and so would not benefit from the money raised.

"We decided to base our business outside of the city as a way of keeping costs down, but it looks as though that could soon change, if the charges were to come in."