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April 1, 2005
The London Retail Consortium is dismayed at the Mayor's announcement that the congestion charge will rise to £8 per day this summer.

A Spokesman for the LRC says, "Despite overwhelming opposition to this, the Mayor has ignored the voice of business. Increasing the charge has little to do with reducing congestion, and more to do with trying to make the weak business case for a Western Extension financially viable. The current scheme has already surpassed the congestion reduction target set out at its inception; so further reductions are unwarranted.

A 60% increase is far in excess of the bus and tube fare rises announced in September. There must be real incentives to use public transport, rather than costly deterrents from driving, as all retail is dependent on locations with good accessibility and connectivity with their customers.

The objectives and benefits of the price increase are not clear enough to justify the extra financial burden on retailers in London. Retailers deserve to see a return on their investment, through the taxes, business rates and the many additional positive investments and contributions they make, that help position London as a premium world shopping destination. Potential future costs, such as a Crossrail supplementary business rate levy will have a tremendous impact on the cost base of business. An increase to the congestion charge could tip this delicate cost balance and will adversely affect the vitality and viability of shops through reduced trade and the removal of consumer choice."

For further information please contact

Kate Ison
Press Officer

Tel: 020 7854 8920

Dee Crooks
Press Officer

Tel: 020 7854 8924
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