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EDITIONS
Thursday, 13 February, 2003, 13:56 GMT
Head-to-head: Congestion charging
Congestion charge
The charge has divided the business community
As central London gears up for the introduction of congestion charging on 17 Feburary, BBC News Online asks two local business people how their firms will fare.

Liam Griffin, a director of courier company Addison Lee, says Ken Livingstone's congestion charge will be a boost to his business.

London is coming to a standstill and we are in the transportation business.

So anything that tries to improve traffic flow and journey times has to be good for us.

We fully support Ken Livingstone as the democratically elected mayor of London in his attempt to improve the situation.

We still have more than 100 vans on the road and it will cost us 1,400 a year per van, but we would hope to recoup that in the long run.

Most clients of courier businesses would expect some of the charge to be passed on.

We have decided not to pass it on. We can afford to incorporate it into our charges.

Traffic in London has definitely got worse and something has got to be tried to improve things.

It is make or break. There are no other ideas out there.

What are the alternatives?


Lisa Byrne, founder of Soho-based Creative Couriers, believes the charge - which will cost her firm 500 a week - is just another stealth tax on small business.

I agree with the need to do something, but this is just a tax on small business.

It is a money-raising, revenue-earner - it has bog-all to do with congestion.

Until all of the businesses we deal with move out of the congestion zone, it will have no impact.

I don't oppose a private car tax if you want to drive into central London.

But for the CEO driving into central London, 5 a day is not going to make one bit of difference.

It will just hit small businesses at the worst possible time, with the threat of a war looming.

And the cost will be pushed on to the consumers eventually.


BBC London's guide to congestion charging
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 VOTE RESULTS
Do you agree with congestion charges?

Yes
 63.39% 

No
 36.61% 

49889 Votes Cast

Results are indicative and may not reflect public opinion

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