Foreign embassies withholding congestion charge

Meeting: 
MQT on 2008-03-12
Session date: 
March 12, 2008
Reference: 
2008/0799
Question By: 
Damian Hockney
Organisation: 
One London Party
Asked Of: 
The Mayor

Question

In concentrating his attacks on the US Embassy, why does the mayor refuse to acknowledge that many more embassies, including European Union countries, are joining the rebellion, and why is he refusing to test the matter by seeking a court ruling on whether the congestion charge is a charge or a tax?

Answer

Answer for Foreign embassies withholding congestion charge

Answer for Foreign embassies withholding congestion charge

Answered By: 
The Mayor

As I have indicated previously, all diplomatic personnel are liable to pay the Congestion Charge and the overall majority, 77%, still do. It is unfortunate that some of the richest nations on the planet have followed the US and incorrectly concluded otherwise.

Unfortunately, whilst I would be happy to treat diplomats who do not pay the charge in the same way as any other motorist if they refused to pay, TfL cannot enforce the charge against diplomats due to the operation of various diplomatic conventions. TfL continues to work with the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) to explore every possible avenue to recover the outstanding debts and encourage embassies to pay the charge. TfL has explored the possibility of seeking a court ruling. However, generally this requires another country to agree to be a party to any proceedings.