The London Congestion Charge has been good for retail, despite claims to the contrary from the industry, said Transport for London.

TfL said that although year-on-year retail sales in central London fell sharply in July to September last year following the London bombings, by early this year this trend had been reversed, with growth above the rest of the UK.

Since 2003 the retail sector had also increased its share of enterprises and employment, it added.

However, Richard Dodd, head of media and campaigns at the London Retail Consortium, said that although sales growth was up, this was because retailers had worked hard to lift sales after the bombings through discounts, sales and promotions. He added: "The full impact is far from clear. More needs to be done before further extensions are introduced."

The Forum of Private Business said that 73% of its affected members' profits had fallen since the hike to £8 a year ago.