Sadiq Khan will be ‘forced’ to KEEP congestion charge at £15 – despite £1.6bn bailout for TfL – as it’s revealed ‘temporary’ hike raised £100million this summer
- Congestion charge hike raised £100 million over the summer after introduction
- It will be kept as part of the £1.6 billion bailout for TfL agreed by the government
- Expected to remain in force seven days a week to help free travel for under 18s
Sadiq Khan says the government forced him to keep the congestion charge at £15 as part of the £1.6 billion bailout for Transport for London – as it’s revealed the ‘temporary’ hike raised £100 million over the summer.
After the bailout to keep TfL operating over the winter was announced yesterday, Mr Khan said it was ‘not a perfect deal’ but insisted he ‘fought hard to get to the best possible place’ in rejecting the ‘very worst’ proposals.
However, the controversial hike of the congestion charge to £15 is to be kept as part of the deal, with the mayor’s tonight office insisting he was forced to keep it in place.
It is expected to remain in force seven days a week to help pay for free travel for under 18s and Londoners aged over 60.
It comes after Tory mayoral candidate Shaun Bailey, who has vowed to scrap the charge if he is elected next May, revealed that it raised nearly £100 million over the summer.
Sadiq Khan said he was forced to keep the congestion charge at £15 as part of the £1.6 billion bailout for Transport for London
The controversial hike of the congestion charge to £15 is expected to remain in force seven days a week to help pay for free travel for under 18s and Londoners aged over 60
Congestion charge income between May and September increased 44 per cent, from £68.1 to £98.3m, compared with the same period last year after the introduction of the hike in June.
The number of fines issued to drivers for failing to pay the charge also rose, more than doubling to 320,300 by the end of August.
Mr Bailey said: ‘At a time when Londoners are more worried than ever about the cost of living, Sadiq Khan is forcing through taxes and fines to fund his mismanagement of TfL.’
However, Mr Khan’s office has rebuffed the criticism and said that the mayor was forced to keep the congestion charge in place as part of the bailout deal.
A spokesperson for the Mayor of London said: ‘As a condition of the recent TFL emergency funding from Government, the Mayor has been forced to continue the temporary changes to the central London Congestion Charge that Ministers insisted on in May.
‘He had no choice but to agree in order to keep the public transport network running – and although this deal is far from perfect, the Mayor’s negotiations have led to the Government dropping some of the very worst conditions they tried to impose, including the extension of the £15 daily Congestion Charge to the North and South circular roads, and the removal of free travel for under 18s and over 60s.
‘As part of this deal Sadiq and TfL must also raise money to cover the non-statutory elements of certain concessionary fares.
‘Decisions about how this additional funding will be raised are yet to be made by the Mayor, but some of the options include keeping these changes in place for the longer term, subject to a full consultation.’
The capital’s transport body said the agreement will enable it to continue operating services until the end of March 2021
Yesterday, it was announced that Transport for London had secured a bailout from the Government to keep it operating over winter with Mr Khan claiming he succeeded in ‘killing off the very worst Government proposals’.
The London mayor said the Government had wanted TfL to introduce a series of ‘ill-advised and draconian’ measures in return for the financial package.
The capital’s transport body said the agreement will enable it to continue operating services until the end of March 2021.
The exact amount of money involved is subject to passenger revenue in the coming months.
TfL’s finances have taken a severe hit from the collapse in fare revenue during the coronavirus pandemic.
Some of the proposals Mr Khan said the Government had wanted TfL to introduce in return for the financial package included extending the Congestion Charge zone to the North and South Circular roads.
They also included scrapping free travel for older and younger Londoners, and raising fares by more than previously agreed.
‘I am determined that none of this will now happen, Mr Khan said.
‘I am pleased that we have succeeded in killing off the very worst Government proposals.
‘The only reason TfL needs Government support is because almost all our fares income has dried up since March as Londoners have done the right thing.’
In a statement, Transport for London said: ‘Discussions on longer-term sustainable funding continue.’