Three strikes and your car will be crushed: Greens’ response to congestion charge protesters

Jenny Jones, Green Party Assembly Member, supports the Mayor’s policy of impounding the vehicles of drivers who refuse to pay three sets of congestion charge fines, but wants Ken Livingstone to nip any protest campaign in the bud by taking an even harder line. Calls for non payment have come from Conservative Assembly Member, Angie Bray and Labour MP, Kate Hoey.

Jenny Jones said: “This silly minority of car drivers have to recognize that most Londoners want to give congestion charging a chance to work. London has been sliding into gridlock for years and people voted for congestion charging as the best chance of letting London breath again.”

Congestion charge protestors are making a comparison the new car charge are poll tax. Jenny Jones dismisses this comparison as ridiculous on several counts:.
• The Poll Tax was an imposition on the public which never enjoyed majority support, whereas opinion polls in London have consistently shown congestion charging has.
• The Poll Tax was imposed on everyone, whereas the 850,000 people who travel into central London by public transport everyday won’t have to pay it. Nor will those driving low emission vehicles, or riding bikes and motorbikes.
• This compares to the minority of 130,000 travellers who use a car paying the new charge, many of whom will be given discounts.
• The poorest Londoners simply don’t tend to drive around the West End during office hours. 85% of those people earning £20,000 or less, state that they have never driven around the zone during the hours of operation.
• The money raised (£130m pa) will be spent on bus improvements and road safety, both of which benefit the poorest people in London, more than the richest.

Jenny Jones added, “The congestion charge is not a regressive tax, as any money raised will fund the continuing improvement in buses, which Londoners are using more and more of. Finally, the congestion charge will hopefully reduce traffic, reduce emissions and make our streets nicer places. The only good thing the Poll Tax had going for it, was that it helped get rid of Margaret Thatcher.”



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