Truckers tell Shapps not to widen congestion charge zone

·2-min read
Sadiq Khan
Sadiq Khan

Grant Shapps has been urged not to make extending the London congestion charging zone a condition of a near-£5bn bailout of the capital's transport authority.

Mayor Sadiq Khan, who is also chairman of Transport for London, has until Saturday to strike a funding deal with Westminster or be forced to begin cutting bus and Tube services.

The Government wants Mr Khan to accept a series of concessions, which also include inflation-busting fare rises and council tax supplements in return for taxpayer support. 

Logistics UK warned that broadening the congestion charge zone could put delivery firms out of business.

In a letter to Mr Shapps, the trade body’s chief executive David Wells said: “My members are enabling the reopening of the economy, whilst also continuing to support vulnerable people and those required to self-isolate with home deliveries. 

“With little alternative to using lorries and vans, these changes simply amount to a tax on deliveries and will therefore have had little effect on commercial vehicle movements but will increase operating costs. Expanding the geography of the zone will have a significant negative impact on many more businesses.”

Research by the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) found that just one in ten business leaders support such an extension. 

Meanwhile, Mr Shapps is also under pressure to publish the Government’s independent review of TfL’s finances. 

Ministers hired accountancy firm KPMG to conduct the review as it considered what measures to impose on Mr Khan’s transport authority in return for financial support.

A redacted copy of the review has been shared with Andy Byford, the TfL commissioner, he said last week.

Bosses from the LCCI, the Federation of Small Businesses and London First said: “Publishing the KPMG report is an essential step to establish an open and collaborative conversation about a new, sustainable, long-term settlement for TfL.”