Mayor's Report Update & Questions (Supplementary) [9]

Session date: 
May 22, 2002
Question By: 
Angie Bray
GLA Conservatives
Asked Of: 
The Mayor


One of the most interesting discoveries that Westminster City Council has made in looking through the various documentation that's been made available to them as part of the process by Transport for London is a discovery that the single largest group that are going to be contributing to your congestion tax are people living on or just around the boundary. According to TfL's own calculation, somewhere between 40% and 50% of the tax raised is going to be coming from the people who live local to the boundary; not, as we've all been led to believe, the mythical wicked selfish commuter coming in their big company cars, but actually people who already live in central London.

I'd like to stress also that we're not talking necessarily about people who live in nice leafy north Westminster. We're talking about people who live in much poorer areas like Shoreditch, Lambeth, Southwark, over in the east in Tower Hamlets. Now, frankly, I think that this is an extraordinary discovery and I wonder what you'd say to the people who live in central London? They're going to get all the extra traffic that's being diverted out of the centre, they don't get the discount even though their neighbours, maybe just 200 yards away, do, thanks to the arbitrary nature of the boundary which cuts through local communities within single boroughs. And now, on top of that, they discover that they're going to be your biggest milk cows. So it's a bit of a treble whammy for them now, isn't it?


Answer for Mayor's Report Update & Questions (Supplementary) [9]

Answer for Mayor's Report Update & Questions (Supplementary) [9]

Answered By: 
The Mayor

Well, what I would say is that half the families in inner London have no access to a car. The very poorest that you talk about in the East End are totally dependent on a decent public transport system. Many areas of the East End have no access to the underground, are totally dependent on the bus system and it's important that we balance our road priorities.

The objective here is not to stop any one person driving into London or to force any one person to get rid of their car, but to try and encourage everybody to use their car less. Half of all the journeys that take place in this city are under two miles. I mean all of those could be dealt with in 15 minutes on a bike and many of them are just around the corner. If anybody really thinks it makes sense to get in their car just on one side of the boundary zone to go over to the other rather than just walk - it's wrong. I never said this was not going to be painful for people; we're asking people to change a pattern of life that's built up over decades.