Fleet News

Congestion charge fury

LONDON mayor Ken Livingstone has prompted fury in the fleet industry after hinting that he would raise the capital’s congestion charge to £10 a day.

Three years ago Livingstone vowed not to raise the then-£5 tariff for 10 years. It now stands at £8. Speaking at the annual State of London debate, Livingstone said the £2 increase was ‘very likely’, and could be included in his next manifesto.

But David Dippie, chairman of the London West region of Acfo, the fleet operators’ body, said a rise needed to be justified. He said: ‘Any increase affects fleets and running costs and that means businesses going in and out of London will have to pass those charges on to customers.

‘I’d like to see that an increase will benefit the infrastructure in London and is not just a method of fundraising. There is a suspicion that it’s not just about improving transport and reducing congestion.’

The Forum of Private Business (FPB) said Livingstone was using the congestion charge to tax drivers rather than reduce road users. Chief executive Nick Goulding said: ‘A rise to £10 would mean that the congestion charge had doubled in the last five years.

‘The initial charge was successful in reducing traffic, and there is no justification for raising it further. It is clear that it is being used as a tax to milk motorists and businesses.

‘No wonder people have doubts about schemes for road pricing when they see that the London charge is being used as an ever-increasing road tax.

Angie Bray, transport spokeswoman for the London Assembly Conservatives, said: ‘London is beginning to wake up to how expensive this mayor has turned out to be. Whenever he needs more money the congestion charge and bus fares are where he turns. This rise confirms that congestion charge is about raising revenue not cutting traffic.’

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