From Tuesday, Sadiq Khan extended the capital’s Ultra Low Emission Zone to all London boroughs, making it the world’s biggest clean air charging zone.
Despite the opposition of Londoners and many local authorities, the Labour Mayor went ahead with his plan to charge drivers of cars that do not meet minimum emissions £12.50 a day. It’s estimated the scheme will impact around 1 million people who live outside of the capital but need to travel into the ULEZ for work or other necessary journeys.
Analysis by the Tax Payers Alliance estimates the ULEZ expansion will affect around 200,000 more vehicles, hitting low-income households hardest. Data shows three of the four poorest London boroughs are likely to pay among the highest percentage of total fines.
So, the Labour Mayor has proceeded with a policy opposed by millions of Londoners that hits poorer families hardest, will decimate high streets in many towns within the Boroughs and devastate firms and businesses who cannot afford to upgrade their vehicles.
As we approach the General Election, this appalling policy decision has allowed us to see what life would be like under a Labour government. In an interview, Deputy Leader of the Labour Party, Angela Rayner, stated that the ULEZ £12.50 driver tax “is coming to towns and cities across the whole of the UK.”
We know in Bury, the views of Sadiq Khan are shared by our local Labour politicians. Not only did all Labour councillors in Bury vote in favour of a 493 square mile clean air charging zone for GM, Councillor Alan Quinn stated Labour councillors would be voting in favour “because it was the right thing to do.” Extraordinarily, Councillor Mary Whitby argued a clean air tax on motorists was “something that is badly needed in our region.”
Our own Mayor Andy Burnham admitted he wasn’t forced by government to introduce clean air zone charges but proposed the introduction of the mammoth 493 square mile scheme nonetheless. He commented, “That was a decision at a Greater Manchester level.”
The desire of GM’s Labour politicians to hammer local residents and businesses in the name of net zero shows no signs of diminishing. Plans to decarbonise energy infrastructure in the city-region have been agreed by local authority leaders at a potential cost of £64 billion. The fact that a £19 billion funding gap exists does not seem to be causing undue concern at all.
Just imagine how those sums of money could be invested in front-line services to improve the lives of everyone.
I will continue to do everything possible to stop such damaging policies from being inflicted on people in Bury North and the wider GM region. It seems Labour are quite happy to fund their green agenda on the backs of some of the poorest people in society, which is fundamentally wrong.