30 August 2023

Sunak appears to rule out central Government support for Ulez-hit outer London

30 August 2023

Rishi Sunak has downplayed the prospect of central Government support for those affected by the expansion of the ultra-low emission zone (Ulez), branding it “solely the responsibility of the Labour Party”.

The Prime Minister appeared to rule out offering relief to ease the impact of the change, which will see drivers of non-compliant vehicles charged £12.50 a day to drive in any London borough.

During a visit to a police station in the capital on Wednesday, he was asked by GB News whether the Government can give any more support to home counties or those hit by the new charge.

Mr Sunak said: “This is solely the responsibility of the Labour Party and the Labour mayor Sadiq Khan and (Labour leader Sir) Keir Starmer. It’s for them to explain why they think this is the right thing to do and they should do that.

“I don’t think it’s the right priority.”

Mr Khan has faced strong opposition to the scheme, despite a £160 million programme run by Transport for London (TfL) to enable residents, small businesses, sole traders and charities scrapping non-compliant cars to claim grants.

The mayor defended the expansion on Tuesday, hailing it as a “landmark” moment that will help improve air quality across the capital and prevent premature deaths.

To comply with Ulez standards, petrol cars must generally have been first registered after 2005, while most diesel cars registered after September 2015 are also exempt from the charge.

TfL says nine in 10 cars seen driving in outer London on an average day are compliant.

Separate figures obtained by the RAC show more than 690,000 licensed cars in the whole of London are likely to be non-compliant.

This does not take into account other types of vehicles or those which enter London from neighbouring counties.

City Hall claims the RAC data is out of date and inaccurate.

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