Sunday, February 18, 2007

London's £8 baby tax!

Various people have been commenting on Ken Livingston's extension of London's congestion charge to cover the Borough of Kensington and Chelsea.

For example Iain Dale has this article citing issues like a reduction in business for traders and shops in Kensington and Chelsea as well as the fact that a large number of residents of that borough will now be able to congest the city center with out extra cost, thereby spreading congestion.

There have been protests as well including go slows. Local traders will not only be hit by their customers paying the charge but could well have problems traversing the congestion charge borders. Will jobs be lost?

However there is another problem and it is this. Kensington and Chelsea contains a major hospital, The Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, whose catchment area contains Hammershith and Fulham. So if someone in Hammersmith or Fulham needs to drop a baby, and has to be driven in to the hospital, that's £8. If they have not planed in advance and booked, and don't pay on time the charges mount.

In short, this is going to end up look like a regressive tax on the poor, and is going to be full of unintended consequences.

Fortunately for me I don't live in London and no longer drive there.

For more information see this press release.


Anonymous said...

Well, as someone who lives in the extension area, but hasn't driven a car for years (it's no fun in London, and wasn't thirty years ago come to that), this isn't one of your more impressive posts.

The extension was in Livingstone's manifesto, and he was duly elected. You might have done better to point out, if you wanted to make a partisan point - not that you would ever do such a thing - that the case for an extension into Islington was at least as good as the case for north Westminster - but Uncle Ken thought he might get some votes in north London!

Benedict White said...

Thanks for your comments Innocent. Perhaps you could tell me which posts I have written are impressive :)

I agree that if i lived in London I could not see much point in oowning a car, but then I have to say my memories of going family food shopping in London by public transport were not that good either.

However people do own cars in London and sometimes they need to use them.

Your point about his manifesto and lack of extension into Islington is a good one though!