Congestion Charge

Meeting: 
MQT on 2007-02-21
Session date: 
February 21, 2007
Reference: 
2007/0551
Question By: 
Damian Hockney
Organisation: 
One London Party
Asked Of: 
The Mayor

Question

In July 2005, you increased the c-charge from £5 to £8, with no corresponding change in the service itself. Doesn't this prove that the charge is indeed a tax rather than a charge for a service, as the lawyers advising many foreign embassies have stated?

Answer

Answer for Congestion Charge

Answer for Congestion Charge

Answered By: 
The Mayor

No. The increase of the charge from £5 to £8 had no impact on the fact that the congestion charge is a charge for a service. All diplomats should pay the congestion charge if they choose to drive in the charging zone. The congestion charge is still:- a specific charge payable upon daily use of the roads- reasonably proportional to actual use- intended to confer a benefit in terms of reduced congestion for the road user; and- the proceeds are still hypothecated for improvements to public transport in London.The charge is the price for use of the scarce resource of road space ' and inevitably as time goes on the price may need to change in order to continue to balance demand and supply. Further, the real value of a charge falls as personal incomes increase. Inflation can also further erode its effective value. This is also in the context of London's population and economic growth. The impact of the increase from £5 to £8 was to reduce the volume of traffic entering by some 4%. However, the consequential reduction in congestion is being affected by reductions in road capacity, exacerbated by increased streetworks.