£230,000 biased congestion-charge ad taken off air

Date published: 01 December 2008

A TV advert about the Greater Manchester congestion charge has been pulled because watchdogs say it was biased.

The advert, featuring former BBC presenter Martin Henfield, was shown in the ITV Granada region between November 6 and 13.

But the broadcast regulator Ofcom said it was directed to a political end, and the £230,000 advert, partly paid for by Oldham taxpayers, was pulled.

It was commissioned by the Greater Manchester Passenger Transport Executive and the 10 regional councils, and funded by the Department for Transport.

Ofcom said it was biased because it showed a website which it said was biased towards a yes vote and that the advert showed partiality, towards the congestion charge.

A transport spokesman said the Ofcom ruling was unjustified, and said it had been approved by the independent body appointed by broadcasters.

...But Fergie says charge is a winner

YES campaigners in Greater Manchester’s congestion charge referendum battle believe they have hit the jackpot with their latest high-profile supporter — United manager Sir Alex Ferguson.

In a letter to the YES camp, Sir Alex says that the Transport Innovation Fund (TIF)proposals are “a once in a lifetime opportunity to put Greater Manchester in the premier league for public transport”.

Old Trafford’s Theatre of Dreams would get a new railway station at White City if the £3bn of public transport improvements get the go-ahead from a yes vote in this month’s referendum.