Londoners are each owed £5 by those embassies which persist in evading the Congestion Charge despite government and TfL advice that the charge is a legally levied charge and not, as the offenders insist, a tax from which they’re exempt.
Figures released by the London Assembly Liberal Democrats show that the amount owed by embassies for non-payment of Congestion Charge and Penalty Charge Notices soared by more than 40% during 2009. The figure now exceeds £40 million with the US Embassy the worst offender despite previously accepting their obligations to pay.
Liberal Democrat London Assembly transport spokesperson Caroline Pidgeon, called on London Mayor Boris Johnson to show “consistent and strong leadership” in the battle to persuade non-paying embassies to live up to their obligations.
Pidgeon commented: “Boris Johnson has done Londoners no favours with his flip flopping on this issue. On one day he mistakenly calls the Congestion Charge a tax and then the next day he tries to persuade embassies that it is a charge. It is time he showed some consistent and strong leadership and ensured that Londoners were no longer denied many millions of much needed money.”
Official figures show that the vast majority – 74% – of embassies and diplomatic missions in the capital pay the Congestion Charge.