The Federation of Wholesale Distributors has called on London's Mayor Ken Livingstone to exempt food and drink distributors from the congestion charge he proposes for the city. The FWD claims the proposed £5 charge on vehicles entering central London will put small businesses at a competitive disadvantage to the multiples, which could easily absorb the extra costs. Although there appears to be little recourse for action now the official consultation process is complete, FWD director general Alan Toft said he would continue to lobby for an exclusion. He said: "Many businesses where our members deliver are small independent retailers and caterers who can least afford any additional distribution costs the charges will inevitably bring about." Registration plates of exempt vehicles could be logged into the computer database underpinning the charging system and recognised as they enter the zone, said Toft. Nevertheless, the FWD is pressing for a blanket exclusion for vehicles carrying food and drink. {{NEWS }}