Today the BBC London News team has updated their webpage titled “Where has the money gone?” which talks about the Congestion Charge and its benefits.
The misleading opening line remains:
When the congestion charge was introduced in 2003 TFL estimated it would raise Â£130 million a year and lower sufficient fuel emissions to make London a more pleasant environment.
It seems strange to repeat an estimate from the start of the scheme when actual (much worse) figures are available in TfL’s statement of accounts published since then.
Further down the piece the bald fact: “Last year Â£122 million was raised” has been qualified thus: “Last year, TfL claims Â£122 million was raised”.
In addition BBC London News have added some balancing comments from me:
Conservative councillor Phil Taylor challenge’s TfL’s assertion that congestion charging is generating substantial surpluses. He says: “TfL’s own statement of accounts show that the cumulative surplus generated from the start of the scheme until the end of the last financial year was only Â£189.7 million.
“This amount has barely covered the original scheme’s set up costs of Â£161.7 million. Pretty much all of the Â£677.4 million collected in the first three and a bit years of operation of the scheme has been spent on out of control set up and running costs.”
The message that the Congestion Charge has been a financial disaster is getting out there.