Boris Johnson is being asked to invite US President Barack Obama and other heads of state responsible for embassies with outstanding Congestion Charge fines to explain their refusal to pay to Londoners.
The call comes in a motion (pdf) to be put before the London Assembly at next week’s Mayor’s Question Time (14th October 2009). The motion “congratulates the 70% of diplomatic missions that do pay the congestion charge on time” but expresses regret “that some of the worst offenders include the embassies of the United States, Russia, Germany and Japan.”
Although the US Embassy in London paid the charge until July 2005, it now refuses to do so, claiming the charge is a “tax” from which it is exempt.
The motion, which is being proposed in the name of Liberal Democrat AM Caroline Pidgeon, “notes that the US government has not asked for a refund of the charges paid at that time.” The Embassy currently owes in excess of £3.5m.
Johnson is being asked to publish the responses of foreign governments on the Greater London Authority Website.
Almost £30million in outstanding in unpaid congestion charge fees and fines is owed by foreign embassies in London.