To give anyone a tax cut (which is what it is) in these straitened times seems rash. Although it was a manifesto commitment, Boris could quite understandably have pleaded poverty. London will lose £50M+/year from this.
Who are the winners here? People who drive in West London. Of course there are some people who don't have a choice and have to drive, but there are plenty of others who are contributing to the congestion, pollution and road danger problem who are getting rewarded with a tax cut. That's perverse.
There's a couple of other lower-profile changes. The central zone will have an increased charge of £10/day, or £9 if you auto-pay. There's also a 'free pass' for Euro-V-compliant vehicles that emit less than 100g/km of CO2. Both of these changes should worry people. There already was an exemption for alternative-fuel cars including hybrids such as the Toyota Prius. This change brings a much wider choice of mainstream vehicles into the exemption. Vehicles such as:
- VW Polo 1.2 TDI 75PS BlueMotion
- VW Golf 1.6 TDI 105PS BlueMotion
- Seat Leon 1.6 CR TDI 105PS Ecomotive
- Ford Fiesta 1.6 Duratorq (95PS)
- Citroen C3 1.6HDi 90hp Airdream+
Now this is likely to cause two changes:
- a significant number of existing commuters choosing an exempt model, thus depriving TfL of revenue;
- new commuters choosing an exempt model so they can commute 'for free'.
If the new 'Band A/Euro-V' discount replaces the existing 'alternative fuel' discount, then there will be some offset because the existing discount allows some relatively polluting vehicles such as hybrid and LPG-fuelled 4x4 SUVs to avoid the congestion charge.
On balance, however, these announcements add up to a perfect storm for London in terms of reduced revenue, increased congestion, increased pollution and increased road danger. Just in time for the Oympics. Nice work, Boris.
Such interesting read and information, thanks for sharing this post.ReplyDelete