Sir Ken defends Congestion Charge increase

Reuters August 2016

Recently knighted president of London, Sir Ken Livingston, today defended plans to increase the Congestion Charge for London pedestrians as being "realistic, fair and good for the new global economy". Ever since the controversial charge was introduced 4 years ago in 2012 in a bid to reduce pavement congestion, Sir Ken has been under sustained pressure to make pedestrians exempt from the charge. When asked to justify the proposed 25% increase to €65 per pedestrian per day, Sir Ken told reporters outside his Dorney Wood residence that "the costs involved in deploying the charge must not outweigh the revenue generated". The congestion charge has still only operated at a profit during 2009, the year when private cars were banned from the central London zone altogether, but the president was still defiant, "we still need to find ways of reducing the dangerous levels of pavement population during peak times, and increasing the charge will encourage many people to consider whether they really need to make the daily commute into town". When he was asked if there were any plans to resurrect the Tube network, he replied "no". The Underground network was closed in 2008 following the Livingstonegate scandal which revealed the misappropriation of investment funds, which saw 98% of the total revenue being directed towards private security and decoration companies, leaving 2% for track and train maintenance. Sir Ken was cleared in the subsequent investigation that looked into his relationship with these companies. Despite being on the board of directors for 46 out of 48 of the private companies, his position was not considered to be a "conflict of interest". Mark Trottalot from the London Ramblers Association said today "what we are seeing on the pavements is Livingstonegate all over again. He wasted all that public money on paint and CCTVs at the same time as watching the Underground network grind to a halt. He hasn't become the 3rd richest man in the UK by chance, and the fact that he now owns a company that will bring face recognition technology to our pavements is very worrying indeed".

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