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Last Updated: Wednesday, 13 July, 2005, 10:48 GMT 11:48 UK
Call to suspend congestion charge
Congestion charge sign
Firms are worried about the economic effect of the bombings
A business group is calling for the congestion charge to be suspended for six months to let London's economy recover from the bombings.

The Forum of Private Business (FPB) said a rise in the road toll in the same week as the bombings will drive shoppers and business away.

Last Monday, the price to drive into central London increased by 60% to 8.

But Transport for London (TfL) said it has no intention of suspending the congestion charge.

FPB chief executive Nick Goulding said: "While we recognise business concerns are nothing compared to the devastation that has been caused to so many lives by the bombs, politicians and police agree that the capital needs to get back to normal as soon as possible.

Suspending the congestion charge would send the right message out that London is open and eager for business
FPB chief executive Nick Goulding

"That means that [London mayor] Ken Livingstone must act swiftly which is why we are proposing a six month suspension of the congestion charge.

"We know that retail confidence did improve in New York after September 11 fairly quickly, but there was no congestion charge there increasing by 60% in the same week as the attacks."

The FPB made its remarks as it was reported that trading in London has slumped since the bombings.

"Suspending the congestion charge would send the right message out that London is open and eager for business," said Mr Goulding.

But a spokesman for TfL said: "There is no substantive evidence to support claims that the congestion charge has had a negative effect on business.

"The congestion charge benefits London and London's economy by keeping the city moving, which is vital in the current climate.

"Therefore, TfL has no intention to suspend the congestion charge."




SEE ALSO:
Londoners still shop after blasts
11 Jul 05 |  Business
Edinburgh rejects congestion plan
22 Feb 05 |  Scotland


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