What Has the London Mayor Got to Hide?
In June, London Mayor Sadiq Khan opened a crucial consultation that will decide the future of transport in London.
The Alliance of British Drivers (ABD) has spoken to several members of the public and found that hardly anyone was aware of it. Some felt that it had been seriously under-publicised.
There have been occasional tube station posters, but they are very bland, mentioning housing and employment but not the quite drastic policies planned for drivers. For instance, the Mayor's Transport Strategy threatens the extension of the Congestion Charge across Greater London and new taxes to force drivers out of their cars.
Congestion charging spokesman Brian Mooney asks:
“What has the Mayor got to hide?
Khan amazingly claims that drivers pay too little to use the roads and they are subsidised by public transport users.
Our research provides evidence to the contrary — that drivers pay four to five times over to use the roads and our taxes in fact subsidise public transport.
The Mayor's office was challenged to provide some evidence via a Freedom of Information Request, but could produce none.
1 2 3 4
If he thinks that the overtaxed driving public will support him forcing us to pay even more — or worse still depriving us of using the roads we've paid for — then he should at least be upfront with us over his plans.
It would be quite unacceptable if he takes silence as approval for his uncosted proposals — or even a blank cheque.
Particularly as he was elected on a promise not to extend the Congestion Charge. 5
I challenge the Mayor to appear on a mainstream phone-in with me to face the public over this important issue.
This should be within the next three weeks to meet the consultation deadline. 6 ”
NOTES FOR EDITORS
1. The claim is on p265 of the Mayor's Transport Strategy consultation draft.
"...the fundamentally inadequate and unfair way in which road use is paid for in London, with motorists
paying too little, and in effect being subsidised by public transport fare payers."
Evidence to the contrary illustrating the net tax paid by drivers is on
2. FOI request: MGLA280717-2452, correspondence available on request.
Failure to respond properly breaches both GLA and wider Local Government standards.
"The Mayor is determined that the GLA leads the way in openness and transparency."
Openness and Transparency
Local government transparency code
3. ABD London Chairman Roger Lawson has experienced similar evasion from Mayor Khan's aides at Transport for London.
Roger asked for basic financial information on the costs and benefits of the ULEZ proposals, but no budgets or estimates of the costs have been provided
(FOI Request Ref: FOI-0071-1718) - it is currently subject to a complaint to the Information Commissioner but the delays alone have frustrated democracy.
Roger Lawson is contactable on 020-8295 0378 or email@example.com
4. There is other evidence that the Mayor's MTS consultation does not meet legal expectations.
Cabinet Office consultation guidelines include:
"Consultations should provide sufficient information to ensure the process is fair."
Consultation principles guidance
Consultation Principles Oct 2013
The Supreme Court ruled in 2014
"The demands of fairness are likely to be higher when the consultation relates to a decision which is likely to deprive someone of an existing benefit."
(UKSC56, Haringey v Moseley)
In a more recent case, Justice Patterson reiterated the principles upheld by the Supreme Court case that a consultation will be fair if it:
1. communicates the public authority's proposal to those with a potential interest;
2. explains why that proposal is being considered;
3. provides the consultees with sufficient information to make informed responses to the proposals.
(R (Angharad Morris and Donna Thomas) v Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council  EWHC 1403 (Admin))
5. The 300 page MTS document fails to give proper ballpark figures for what will certainly be the large sums of money Mayor Khan plans to take from those who can currently afford to drive in London or the substantial cost of implementing his schemes.
Sadiq Khan's 2016 manifesto promised (p36)
"to maintain the Congestion Charge at its current level".
The MTS threatens a range of punishing measures including:
- Extending the Congestion Charge (road pricing) London-wide, with drivers being charged to use local roads
- New and higher motoring taxes to stop drivers using their cars
- A 'workplace parking levy' — a tax on going to work
- Reduction in the availability of parking
- Measures to remove road space from drivers who've paid for it
- Gratuitous 'car-free days', road closures and speed restrictions
6. This offer is specifically aimed at the Mayor, not an underling or lobbyist substitute, as he made his promise in a personal manifesto.
The timescale would be between now and 20 September to allow listeners adequate time to respond to the consultation which concludes on 2 October. Brian Mooney is due to be away in late September.
Mainstream phone-ins would be on recognised London radio stations like LBC or TalkRadio, between the hours of 7am and 10pm, and at reasonable (at least 24 hours') notice.
Brian Mooney is contactable on 07976-414913 or firstname.lastname@example.org .
Notes for Editors about the ABD
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