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Sadiq Khan refuses ambulance driver's pleas to scrap congestion charge for key workers

13 January 2022, 13:05 | Updated: 13 January 2022, 13:07

By Emma Soteriou

Sadiq Khan has turned down an ambulance driver's pleas to scrap the congestion charge for emergency services in London.

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Dave, an ambulance driver from Deptford, said he had been trying to contact the mayor on the subject for five years, in hopes of an exemption.

He said: "We're there to do a service for London but yet we have to pay for the privilege to come in.

"For some staff members, that's quite a lot of money and it does rack up.

"I appreciate that some employers let you claim that as an expense however that is public money being spent on something that doesn't need to be – it can be put to better use."

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Mr Khan said changes were already on the way for the congestion charge in February.

He said: "What we simply can't do – and I simply can't afford it and nor can TfL – is give a waiver to everyone who works in a key worker job in London.

"We are, from February, changing the hours for the congestion charge. And you'll see many more people like you being exempt from paying it."

The changes mean there will be no charges in the evenings after 6pm, and operating hours on weekends and bank holidays will be reduced to 12pm-6pm. However, the current charge of £15 will still remain in place.

Dave argued that he worked shifts and so would not benefit as much as the mayor had suggested.

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When asked to explain why emergency service workers deserved the exemption and not others, Dave said: "Last year, people were outside clapping their hands saying thank you to me.

"Yet, I'll go and ask everyone 'do you think I should have to pay congestion charge to go and do the job I'm doing? I just helped your mum. I just helped your dad.' And I guarantee they'll say no."

He added: "It's a lot of money, especially on my side of the emergency services, which – do you remember the percentage pay rise they gave staff this year? It wasn't great."