Boris Johnson criticises Sadiq Khan over TfL finances
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Mr Khan said he would be “negotiating with the Government” to ensure the charge does not stay at its current rate if he was successful in gaining re-election. The Mayor raised the charge to £15 per day and increased its operation from 7am up to 10pm in June last year.
This was an increase on the previous pre-pandemic rate of £11.50 which was run between the hours of 7am and 6pm.
He told LBC: “I will be negotiating with the Government so we don’t have to have it seven days a week or up until 10pm.”
However, the plans may have already been blocked by authorities at the first hurdle.
A senior Government source is reported to have said: “I don’t think we’ll be writing him a cheque to help win the election.”
The move has been attacked by his election rivals with Conservative candidate Shaun Bailey saying the mayor was “making things complicated”.
Mr Bailey has pledged to decrease the congestion charges since fees were increased in June last year.
He said: “Sadiq Khan is making things complicated. But the truth is very simple.
“The mayor decided to raise the Congestion Charge, and the mayor can choose to reverse it — today. The fact that he doesn’t tell us everything we need to know.
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“Sadiq Khan is trying to win votes by promising to cut the very taxes he raised.
“That’s like an arsonist trying to get out of jail by promising to put out the fire he started.
“As mayor, I’ll reverse the Congestion Charge hike on day one — no consultation, no studies, no ifs, no buts. This is the fresh start that London needs.“
The price increase was required as part of the terms of a Government funding package to bailout TfL.
However, last summer TfL said the new fees were “temporary changes” which were “essential” to prevent London’s recovery from the pandemic.
At the time TfL also confirmed any permanent changes to the previous price would require a full consultation.
The Mayor’s Office has previously said the increased costs were reducing traffic in the congestion zone which was making it safer for people to walk and cycle.
However, critics have suggested Mr Khan’s new proposals seem at odds with any of his previous pledges as Mayor.
Last year he invested in the introduction of unpopular Low Traffic Neighborhoods to reduce the number of motorists on the city’s roads.
This was done to avoid a “car-led recovery” on London’s streets.
He has also recently suggested introducing a new £32.50 Outer London charge for those travelling into the capital.
He threatened to introduce the new charge if the Government did not give him £500million worth of Vehicle Excise Duty paid by Londoners.
Express.co.uk has contacted the Mayor’s Office for further comment.
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