Congestion charging will help London's food and drink businesses grow, according to Mayor of London Ken Livingstone.
In this week's Saturday Essay, Livingstone says he has introduced congestion charging because he wants London's businesses to succeed.
"I want to see the capital thriving, to see its businesses able to move people and goods about freely, easily and efficiently, at the smallest possible cost to both those businesses and their customers."
Congestion was costing London's businesses and residents between £2m and £4m every week. A cut in congestion could only help those making essential food deliveries and independents running their own grocery stores, Livingstone says. "I know that some business people believe their trade will suffer. I have to say, I believe the opposite. You have to ask yourself, if through this scheme we make central London a better, more attractive, less congested and more pleasant environment, people will prefer to visit it and buy their goods there."
He adds that in Singapore and Trondheim, where charging has already been introduced, retailers found trade improved after the initial disruption. Since the introduction of the charge three weeks ago, traffic levels have been cut by about 20%.
>>p32 Saturday Essay

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