‘One-man wrecking ball’ Sadiq Khan branded ‘out of touch’ after U-turn over huge charge

Sadiq Khan discusses congestion charge plans

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And former Brexit Party MEP Ben Habib has said the decision underlines how “out of touch” the capital’s Mayor is, warning the hike will impact hard-working Londoners, rather than the wealthy. The C-charge was increased from £11.50 to £15 last June as part of the Government’s emergency funding deal for London at the height of the lockdown, and its hours were increased to 10pm.

At the time, Mr Khan told LBC it was a “temporary measure” – but it has now been confirmed this is not the case, with the fee fixed at its current rate between 7am and 6pm.

In addition, it is also enforceable between 12pm and 6pm at weekends.

Mr Habib, a fierce critic of the Labour Mayor, told Express.co.uk: “Sadiq Khan epitomises the worst of modern day Labour.

“Out of touch with the working class and promoting regressive policies which hit them the hardest.”

He added: “The proposed permanent increase in the congestion charge from £11.50 to £15 is exactly one such policy.

“This will penalise Londoners across the board just as we emerge from the pandemic. The wealthiest may not blink but it will hit white van drivers hard.”

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Turning his attention to the Mayor himself, Mr Habib accused him of “lacking the knowledge and vision required to set a growth agenda in London which benefits all”.

He said: “Instead, his inability to manage properly any of the responsibilities with which he is charged come back as a burden in the form of higher congestion charges and tube fares.

“The Islington latte brigade may love their utopic vision of carbon net zero but only they can afford Teslas.”

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He continued: “Actually what Khan should be doing is tapping the debt markets while money is virtually free and using this cash to fix London’s infrastructure.

“London must welcome visitors, not penalise them. His aim should be to deliver a near free first class public transport system and travel across London. He cannot see that let alone deliver it.

“He is busy putting a sticking plaster over the problems, raising charges and even raising taxes.”

The net result of Mr Khan’s policies was to exacerbate London’s problems and the plight of people who live there, Mr Habib claimed, adding: “He is a one-man wrecking ball.”

Explaining the decision, Mr Khan said: “The Government insisted on the widening of the level and scope of the Congestion Charge last year as a condition of TfL’s emergency funding agreement – which was only needed because of the pandemic.

“As we look to the future it’s vital the charge strikes the right balance between supporting London’s economic recovery and helping ensure it is a green and sustainable one.”

He added: “These proposals support the capital’s culture, hospitality and night-time businesses which have struggled so much, as well as encouraging people to walk, cycle and use public transport.

“We must not replace one public health crisis with another due to filthy polluted air, and our measures to create more space for walking and cycling have already had a huge impact.

“I urge Londoners to have their say and take part in the consultation.”


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