London car tax changes are ‘focused on making money’ and may make travel ‘less viable’

Martin Lewis gives money-saving advice on VED car tax

Watford Mayor Pete Taylor has said travel to London would be made “less viable” if added charges were introduced. He has urged Mayor of London Sadiq Khan to reconsider the proposals and consider the “knock-on effect” of the scheme.

The proposals could see charges of up to £3.50 per day on motorists who enter outer London boroughs.

The new Greater London Boundary Charge would introduce tough charges to areas outside the Congestion Zone and ULEZ.

Polluting cars will be most impacted by the updates which could take up to two years to be introduced.

Mr Khan says a new daily charge would help manage congestion in the capital and encourage more people to use sustainable transport methods.

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Watford Mayor Mr Taylor said: “I understand the need to restore the finances of TFL. People from all over the South East travel into London for work, contributing to London’s economy and industry.

“Adding to the cost of travelling into London would make this less viable and could mean people think twice about working in the Capital.”

He added: “If you would like fewer people to drive into London then you must find a way to increase services on buses, trains and tubes, rather than cutting them.

“The package of proposals is completely focused on making money with no regard for the environmental impacts this may have.

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“Nor on the inconvenience and difficulties this would cause to people who live near to the boundary of Greater London, making it more expensive and less straightforward to visit parts of London to visit friends, shop, worship, work or study.

“I urge you to reconsider these proposals and think carefully about the knock-on effect it would have on society as a whole.”

Around 1.3 million car trips were made form outside London into the city on weekdays before the pandemic.

Mr Khan has threatened to introduce the new charge if the Government refuses to allow Transport for London (TfL) to keep the money generated form Vehicle Excise Duty (VED).

Up to £500million is generated from car tax charges but this is spent on road infrastructure outside the capital.

The Mayor wants the money to be invested in the capital’s transport network which has suffered due to the lockdown and pandemic.

A spokesperson for the mayor of London has warned “other ways of raising” money would be considered if funding was not redirected.

They said: “if Ministers aren’t prepared to play fair other ways of raising this sum will be needed to help overcome the unprecedented financial challenges TfL faces as a result of Covid, which is why Sadiq has asked TfL to investigate the feasibility of a new London Boundary Charge for non-residents which would apply only to vehicles registered outside London which are driven into the capital.

“This would also have significant benefits in managing congestion, reducing emissions and encouraging more use of sustainable modes of transport.”

Nicholas Lyes, RAC head of roads policy has hit back against the Mayor warning the scheme felt like a “money grab” which would be “punitive” for many road users.

He said: “Vehicle excise duty receipts are currently spent on improving the strategic road network across the country.

“So if TfL was to be allocated a share of these, London drivers would rightly expect the money to be put towards improving the capital’s main arterial roads.”

He added: “The Mayor already has income from both the Congestion Charge and the Ultra-Low Emission Zone, so levying yet another charge on drivers entering a wider part of London would feel like more like a money-grab, which would be particularly punitive for tradespeople, small businesses and care workers.”

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