'A tax on relationships': Politicians criticise boundary charge proposal
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Havering politicians have hit out at a proposed boundary charge for people driving into Greater London.
The Greater London boundary charge is included within Transport for London's financial sustainability plan, which looks at ways the transport operator can cover the costs of its services in the future.
Published last week, the document says that one of the suggestions to raise £500million a year is to introduce a charge on non-London residents driving into the capital.
It adds that the charge could be £3.50 per vehicle a day, raising to £5.50 for vehicles which don't comply with emissions targets, and may come into operation in October 2023.
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has asked TfL to carry out a feasibility study into the idea, though the report said his preferred option of raising the cash is the vehicle excise duty Londoners pay.
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The boundary charge proposal was criticised by Havering Council leader Damian White, who said: "So many of our residents have friends and family across the arbitrary Greater London boundary that this would become a tax on relationships.
"It is shameful that Mayor Khan is seeking to penalise businesses, residents and motorists through the introduction of this stealth tax.”
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Keith Prince, assembly member for Havering and Redbridge, claimed that the proposal would put "tariffs" on entering London.
He said: "That will destroy economies in places like Havering and Redbridge. Romford Market is very dependent on people coming in from Essex."
A spokesperson for the Mayor of London said: “The Mayor has repeatedly urged the Government to allow London to retain the £500m of Vehicle Excise Duty paid by Londoners every year but which is currently spent almost exclusively on maintaining roads outside the capital.
"If the Government do not agree, other ways of raising money to overcome the unprecedented financial challenges TfL faces as a result of Covid may be needed.
"A Greater London boundary charge for non-residents could reduce congestion and emissions whilst encouraging more use of public transport. Revenues could also provide funding for investment in London’s transport network.
"Subject to the findings of TfL’s feasibility study, already underway, any proposals developed as a result would be subject to a full public consultation where the public – including non-Londoners – would be able to have their say on any potential proposals.”