United Kingdom

Sadiq Khan urged to SUSPEND London's £15 Congestion Charge for 12 days at Christmas to boost shops

London mayor Sadiq Khan was today urged to suspend the capital's £15 daily Congestion Charge over Christmas to offer some respite to businesses at a key time of year.

Shaun Bailey, the Tory candidate to replace Mr Khan in May's election, said that the 12-day respite could be paid for from millions received in fines during the pandemic.

His team estimate the cost of removing the charge at just under £10million across the 12 days, recouped from the extra £25.6million received in fines after the charge was extended in the summer.

Mr Bailey said the temporary cessation would help boost football for businesses already reeling from nine months of coronavirus closures and restrictions. 

'Businesses have had an incredibly tough year. They've faced an unprecedented pandemic, two lockdowns, and a Mayor who raised the congestion charge to £15 a day,' he said.

'So it's time for Sadiq Khan to embrace the festive season and suspend the congestion charge entirely for the twelve days of Christmas.

'This would help businesses make up for some of the revenue they lost due to coronavirus and the congestion charge hike. It would also encourage families to get out and shop.

'Yes, it's not a complete solution, but it's the least Sadiq Khan can do given he grinched his way through the past few months.'

Shaun Bailey, the Tory candidate to replace Mr Khan in May's election, said that the 12-day respite could be paid for from millions received in fines during the pandemic

His team estimate the cost of removing the charge at just under £10million across the 12 days, recouped from the extra £25.6million received in fines after the charge was extended in the summer

The Congestion Charge was previously set at £11.50 per day and applied only during peak weekday hours. But in June Mr Khan raised it to £15 and extended its use to evenings and weekends

The Congestion Charge was previously set at £11.50 per day and applied only during peak weekday hours. But in June Mr Khan raised it to £15 and extended its use to evenings and weekends. 

He said he was forced to make the increase under a deal with ministers to prop up Transport for London's finances during the first lockdown. 

And last month he said the government forced him to keep the congestion charge at £15 as part of another £1.6billion bailout. It was revealed at the time that the 'temporary' hike raised £100 million over the summer.

Congestion charge income between May and September increased 44 per cent, from £68.1million to £98.3million, compared with the same period last year.

It is expected to remain in force seven days a week to help pay for free travel for under 18s and Londoners aged over 60.

Mr Bailey has vowed to scrap the charge if he is elected next May. 

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