MP RUTH Kelly has backed the introduction of a £5-a-day congestion charge.

Talking about the pay-to-drive fee peoposed for Greater Manchester, she said the economic growth of the area depended, in part, on congestion being tackled.

The Transport Secretary and Bolton West MP said it was imporant to ensure jobs were not stifled by rising levels of congestion.

She confirmed on Friday that the government would hand over its portion of the £575 million cost of expanding the Metrolink tranm network with routes to Rochdale, Droylsden and Chorlton.

Further extentions to Ashton, Manchester Airport, Rochdale town centre and Oldham depend on a big by the Association Of Greater Manchester Authorities to secure Transport Innovation Fund money from central government in a deal worth £3 billion.

Miss Kelly said: "Pitch yourself forward five, 10 years ahead and we can imagine the roads being snarled up and jobs frankly just not coming to this city and other growing cities."

There is growing opposition to the charge. Tory controlled Bury is now opposed and Passenger Transport Authority chairman Roger Jones lost his seat on Salford Council when the local elections were held on May 1.