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Congestion Charging (West London)

Volume 522: debated on Thursday 27 January 2011

5. What assessment he has made of the effects of the ending of the west London extension of the congestion charge zone. (36298)

Does the Minister of State agree that one of the beneficial effects will be for those who live or try to run small businesses around the perimeter of the zone, for whom life was made very expensive? However, perhaps the biggest benefit will be for City Hall in the restoration of a reputation for proper democratic governance.

My hon. Friend has a strong record in her former capacity as a London Assembly Member for representing the views of residents on this issue, as she has in her current capacity as the hon. Member for Ealing Central and Acton. There are always pros and cons to be considered in relation to the impact on business of congestion charging schemes. No doubt when the Mayor made the decision on the western extension zone he will have taken on board her concerns about the impact on small businesses on the periphery and boundary of that zone.

Notwithstanding the fact that this is a devolved matter, the Department provides a great deal of resources to the Mayor of London for traffic issues. His removal of the western extension has cut £70 million annually from his revenue stream. Did the Department express any concerns at any time about the effect of that cut on funding for future transport schemes in London? The rest of us are paying higher charges and fares as a result of that hole in the Mayor’s budget.

This is a devolved matter. The settlement was established by the Labour Government, who made it clear that congestion charging matters were rightly for the Mayor of London to decide and not for Ministers in Whitehall.