Mayor's Report (Supplementary) [4]

Session date: 
February 20, 2008
Question By: 
Jennette Arnold OBE
Labour Group
Asked Of: 
The Mayor


Even the free marketeer over there. I just have to say that there is a hole in the consultation period that I identified yesterday when I was talking to local councillor colleagues. I have 15 post offices that are threatened and I think it was only two of those councillors who knew. The Post Office has not written or informed local councillors about what is happening in their patch, which just shows you the level of understanding about consultation that is going on here. I doubt if they have consulted an organisation like the London Older People's Strategy Group, the organisation that has done so much work for older people in London. Therefore I welcome your statement about the post offices.

Can I ask you some questions about the £25 Congestion Charge? One of the questions that I have been asked already by email is for you to clarify the issue about the pollution impact on the small cars because surely the thing to do, if you can afford a large car, is you buy a small run-around? How is that going to help us with congestion and the pollution?

Supplementary To: 


Answer for Mayor's Report (Supplementary) [4]

Answer for Mayor's Report (Supplementary) [4]

Answered By: 
The Mayor

On the post offices we should beware that I suspect the Post Office's justification for the six weeks will be that 12 weeks would interfere with the purdah period for the GLA elections. Our response to this should be, as every single candidate standing for Mayor and for the Assembly from every party will be opposed to their policy, it has no material effect whatsoever on the outcome of the election. In actual fact we should offer a prize; can they find any candidate standing anywhere in Britain for any office that supports their policy?

On the question of the change to the Band B. There is all sorts of statistical analysis they did, which shows that the change will be negligible or actually beneficial but it comes down to each of us making an assessment. How many people do we think there are living in central London so malignant that they will go and buy a Band B car just so they can drive into central London? You will not have to pay the Congestion Charge; you have still got to pay the parking charges which are eye watering all over central London. Nobody in their right mind, except for Jeremy Clarkson [television presenter], would drive in central London unless they absolutely had to. So, yes, there will be a small number of people who will not care and will pay the £25, but we expect a dramatic reduction in heavily polluting vehicles.

The most important thing is it sends a message to the motor industry, which Porsche seems to have got, about the way they should be going in producing less polluting cars. Also the money raised, the £30 million to £50 million a year, has been ring fenced to pay for the roll-out of the cycling and walking initiatives that I launched with the support of the Green Party the day before which is a ten-year programme aimed at increasing cycling to being 10% of our journeys in London. The total saving if we achieve that is half a million tonnes of CO2 a year. It is all part of a proper Transport Strategy.