THE Government has been accused of “throwing its toys out of the pram” by the man who led Bolton’s anti-congestion charge campaign.

Cllr John Walsh, leader of Bolton Council’s Conservative group, hit back after Transport Minister Lord Adonis ended hopes that Greater Manchester boroughs could still bid for cash from its Transport Innovation Fund (TIF).

In December, residents voted against a peak-time congestion charge in Manchester, which the Government demanded in return for £3 billion of transport investment in the region.

But last night, Lord Adonis told The Bolton News that any TIF funding had to incorporate a congestion charge.

He said: “TIF is provided specifically to help tackle local congestion by combining major extra investment in public transport with demand management.

“Where local authorities decide congestion charging is not the answer to their congestion problems they will continue to receive significant transport investment through existing programmes, but not through TIF.

“It is now up to the Association of Greater Manchester Authorities to decide where they go from here. If they decided to introduce a congestion charge then they would be eligible to bid for TIF funding.”

Cllr Walsh said: “The people of Bolton and Greater Manchester did not fall for the TIF bid, which I increasingly believe was a con from the start.

“There was so much public anger about the plans because people said they did not want to pay twice. For the Government to now throw its toys out of the pram and say that Manchester cannot have any of the TIF cash because we refused to roll over and play its game is disgusting.”

Labour Cllr David Chadwick, one of Bolton’s representatives on the Greater Manchester Passenger Transport Authority, said he was disappointed by Lord Adonis’s comments, but urged all political parties to work together.

Council leaders said they would still be lobbying for more public transport investment despite the TIF route now being ruled out.