As Conservative spokesperson for Kingston and Surbiton I have heard from our residents, first-hand how much this ULEZ Extension tax will hurt.
One 84-year-old man I met cried when I spoke to him. “What am I going to do?” he said in despair. One of our surveys was returned with a message “ULEZ is a disgusting tax on the poor”. Make no mistake Mr Mayor, our Kingston Borough residents are distraught, distressed and destroyed.
The residents it will hurt most are those who can least afford it: pensioners living on a tight budget with no carer, who depend on their car to get to the hospital or doctor and shops – and no wifi, email or internet to buy a daily cover; carers; lower income groups; small businesses, the high street and hospitality. It will disproportionately and discriminatively affect old people and women.
It is coming at a time of inflation and cost of living challenges where residents are worried about paying their mortgage, their energy bills and putting food on the table for their family. Finding the thousands of pounds necessary to buy a new car is simply out of the question for so many - especially when their old car, often perfectly good for many miles to go, is now worth way below its real value. Khan will be adding to inflation by ensuring that every tradesman coming to Kingston from Surrey and beyond will charge the additional £12.50 on every bill.
The Mayor has been pressurised into extending his replacement grant of £2000, but despite the many applications we haven’t yet actually come across anyone who accessed the funding - which barely covers the losses in any case.
The Mayor claims the tax is to improve air quality but with diesel buses, appalling underground tube air quality, intensive Heathrow air traffic, plus saturation of particulate matter from tyres braking, the improvement is impossible to prove and negligible if anything - especially in outer London towns like Surbiton, Kingston upon Thames and New Malden along with Communities such as Tolworth, Berrylands, Hook and Chessington and the Village of Malden Rushett where we are lucky to have green landscapes and blue skies. If the Mayor really wanted to improve emissions, why couldn’t he have just used an MOT emissions test? And why set the fee so unaffordable at £12.50 per day with a penalty off-the-scale at £180 if you should forget to pay or not have internet access? We are asking is this about air quality - or tax? Is this just another bailout for TfL? A tax on outer London to benefit Inner London?
The Mayor has invested £250m of our taxpayer’s money in hated intrusive APR cameras which have been especially confusing in parts of Chessington where some roads are in and some are out, with some cameras being appallingly erected in quiet cul de sacs like Headley Close. I will campaign for neighbourhoods where privacy is invaded to be offered the right to have these removed by local consultation. The rest will be cancelled and given to the police to combat crime.
The boundary of ULEZ has made a special detour to encapsulate Chessington Garden Centre and Chessington World of Adventures to unfairly capture the tax revenue from their Surrey customers (where I used to go as a child growing up in Bookham!) Is this a day-light-robbery of a long-standing cherished business which has worked so many years to build a brilliant resort destination business in our borough? We admire their amazing investment plans for a £38m ‘Africa Falls’ Waterpark which will bring drama and footfall to our borough. Will the Mayor jeopardise this incredible investment with his greedy tax? A family ticket (4) is already over £120 – can family customers afford an additional £12.50 just to cross the M25?
Surrey county council in coalition with four other out-of-London boroughs, Bromley, Bexley, Hillingdon, and Harrow, pressed charges on the Mayor for overreaching his powers as Mayor - unfortunately this challenge was not upheld. So, the ULEZ extension is due to commence next week on 29th August and our next chance to stop ULEZ will be at the Mayoral election in May 2024 next year.
The Lib Dem’s have voted in support of ULEZ at every motion and have supported all measures to restrict car ownership and drivers’ freedom. Lib Dem’s do not have sufficient votes in London to win a Mayoral election - so a vote for Lib Dem, is a wasted vote. Lib Dem can’t win the Mayoral here.
There is only one choice to #StopUlez and that is to Vote Conservative. Only the Conservatives can stop Khan now. Vote Susan Hall. Susan Hall has pledged to stop ULEZ Day One. Susan Hall has been holding the current Labour Mayor of London to account for over 5 years as Leader of the City Hall Conservatives GLA and is better qualified than anyone to take over the role as London’s Mayor.
Stop ULEZ by voting Susan Hall Conservative Candidate for the Mayor of London.