The Government has said it does not support proposals for the hugely controversial Greater London congestion charge.
Suggested by the Mayor of London, the London boundary charge was proposed as a way to help TfL’s Covid-struck finances unless the Government helps in another way, and would hit areas such as Dartford,
The plans, described by one local MP as the “most divisive issue ever conceived by a London Mayor,” would see vehicles registered outside London charged £3.50 every time they cross the boundary into the capital.
It is currently just being investigated by the Mayor’s office, and Khan has said he is eager to come to a different agreement with Government over topics such as VED to avoid the need for a boundary charge.
Speaking at a House of Commons debate, which was opened by Dartford MP Gareth Johnson who has been vocal in his criticisms of the plans, a Government official also “put it on record” that they do not support the proposals.
Transport Minister Rachel Maclean said it would be a border tax “levied on people outside London by a Mayor they were not able to vote for, or indeed vote out.”
“I am a firm believer that there should be no taxation without representation, as such a move would fly in the face of the Mayor’s supposed mantra that London is open.
“For that reason, I put it on the record that this is an idea that the Government do not support.”
However, Sadiq Khan and leaders from all five of the London Assembly’s parties last month urged the Transport Secretary to allow TfL to retain around £500m in Vehicle Excise Duty (VED).
The Mayor said they wanted the government to give the capital its “fair share” of funding, with VED presented as an alternative to the Boundary Charge.
Khan said the funding was needed to start reparing TfL’s Covid-battered finances, but Grant Shapps said the Government was unlikely to play ball and let TfL “raid the national budget.”
Speaking before Ms Maclean in the debate, local MP Gareth Johnson said the Mayor of London’s congestion charge plans “would have a catastrophic impact on places like Dartford and all the areas surrounding London.
“It would also have a detrimental impact on outer London boroughs. Businesses located in outer London boroughs would suffer from people being reluctant to travel the—often short—distance across the border to use that particular business.”
More than 26,000 people have signed a petition against the proposals, and the Dartford MP added the decision would be made by somebody who Dartfordians have no control over.
“He (Sadiq Khan) knows who he is hitting with this idea. It is the most divisive issue ever conceived by a London Mayor and it needs to be stopped.
“It will have a profound impact, not just on the counties around London, but on the outer London boroughs. It is an abuse of power and it needs to end.”