C-Charge Consultation Is Charade, Admits Ken

The Evening Standard (London, England), September 7, 2005 | Go to article overview

C-Charge Consultation Is Charade, Admits Ken


Byline: KATHARINE BARNEY

KEN LIVINGSTONE has dismissed the public consultation on his plan to extend the congestion charge as a "charade".

The Mayor said it would have no influence on whether he went ahead with proposals to charge motorists to drive in Kensington and Chelsea.

He told business leaders that, as Mayor, he had to make tough decisions, and that the western extension was part of his last manifesto.

He said: "I think it's a complete charade. I think I should make the decisions for London. I went into the election [last year] and said I was going to do this. We will consult and we will absorb - but a consultation is not a referendum."

The Mayor's office advertised the consultation on the radio, in the press and by posters on public transport, with the slogan "Have your say".

The Transport for London website says: "Comments will be passed on to the Mayor before he makes a decision on whether or not to proceed with this proposal."

But at a question-and-answer session with the London Chamber of Commerce, the Mayor said he was only carrying out the consultation because the law insists on it.

He said the extension would benefit all of London, adding: "The bigger the zone the less congestion and the better the bus service. We will keep the pressure up."

Insurance broker Nigel Rice asked whether the Mayor's decision to extend the zone westwards was political, as it favoured those living in east London who tended to vote for him. He added: "Now that we are preparing for May 2012 will we see the congestion charge go eastwards, and was there any tactical decision in the choice? …

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