'Another unwelcome hit on working people': Four senior London Labour MPs slam Sadiq Khan's ULEZ expansion plans

14 February 2023, 08:10 | Updated: 14 February 2023, 09:14

MPs including Seema Malhotra have criticised the ULEZ expansion
MPs including Seema Malhotra have criticised the ULEZ expansion. Picture: Getty

By Henry Riley

Four leading London Labour MPs are calling on Sadiq Khan to backtrack on his plans to extend the Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) from August 29, LBC can reveal.

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Labour MPs Seema Malhotra, Jon Cruddas, Siobhain McDonagh and Abena Oppong-Asare have told LBC they have significant concerns regarding the scheme’s expansion.

London mayor Mr Khan wants to expand the ULEZ to cover the whole of London in a bid to improve London's poor air quality. Drivers of cars that don't meet emissions standards will have to pay £12.50 per day to use their vehicles, or risk a £160 fine.

The planned expansion of the scheme, which already covers inner London, has met with criticism from local authorities in some of the Conservative-controlled outer London boroughs, where people are often more likely to use a car.

Now Labour MPs in outer London have also criticised plans to widen the ULEZ over fears it will impact working people and damage the local economy.

Speaking to LBC News, Labour's Abena Oppong-Asare said: "My concern is we don't want to be in a situation where people are going to be worse off."

The Shadow Exchequer Secretary tells LBC News she's raised her concerns with Mayor Sadiq Khan.

Sadiq Khan clarifies how the revenue from the ULEZ expansion will be spent

Seema Malhotra, currently Labour’s Shadow Business and Consumers Minister, told LBC: "Whilst I share the goal of reducing pollution and increasing air quality, I am very concerned about the economic impact the current roll-out plans will have on residents and small businesses’.

The Labour MP for Feltham and Heston in the west of the capital, said the plans will have a "disproportionate effect on lower income families and the self-employed who use their vehicle for work".

Read more: London ULEZ zone expands to cover ENTIRE capital from next year, Sadiq Khan announces

Read more: "Difficult year" to go ahead with Ulez as people struggle with cost of living, says Martin Lewis

Jon Cruddas, the MP for Barking and Dagenham, said he was "deeply disappointed" about the policy, adding that "the representations I made on behalf of my constituents fell on deaf ears."

Mr Cruddas, who was previously the Policy Coordinator of the Labour Party, said he "understood the pressing need to improve air quality and public health" but claimed the scheme was "another unwelcome hit on working people… Dagenham & Rainham is home to many low-income workers who rely on their personal vehicles". 

Jon Cruddas
Jon Cruddas. Picture: Getty

Their concerns were echoed by the long-serving Labour MP for Mitcham and Morden Siobhain McDonagh, who also expressed opposition to the scheme.

A spokesperson for the Mayor of London said: "The air quality data used by City Hall is completely robust and is based on the most accurate scientific investigation into the human cost of poor air from globally renowned experts at Imperial College London.

"Sadiq refuses to sit back and do nothing when lives are being lost and urges these local authorities to support his plans to bring cleaner air to every Londoner – wherever they live in the capital."

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