Boris Johnson has denied claims made by his own Transport advisor that he will shelve plans to scrap the Western Congestion Charge.
Yesterday Dave Hill claimed that City Hall was considering delaying the axe, and this morning the Evening Standard reported that the axe would be shelved altogether.
According to a statement given by Boris' Transport Advisor Kulveer Ranger:
“We always wanted to remove it at the earliest possible opportunity but it was aspirational and these are difficult times,” he said.“The Mayor has made clear his determination to sustain the vital investments that are required in the capital's transport system, and ensure that TfL has a balanced business plan.“These are tough economic times, with factors such as the fall in Tube ridership due to the recession, and the collapse of Metronet, putting significant pressure on TfL's finances.”
Surprised by what looked like a sensible move, I asked the Mayor's office for a statement. Here's what I got back:
Kulveer Ranger, the Mayor's Transport Advisor, said:"Boris Johnson has promised to abolish the Western Extension of the Congestion Charge and he will do so next year. This was a central part of his manifesto, and is in accordance with the wishes of Londoners as expressed in a detailed consultation last spring."The details for the removal are being finalised, but there is absolutely no question of this policy being dropped."
Within minutes, Boris posted the following on Twitter:
So which statement from Kulveer should we believe? And what on Earth is going on there in City Hall?
-Update- The Evening Standard's ferret goes into reverse again
Here they are last November when they thought that Boris would keep the extension:
And two days later when Boris announced he would scrap it
And this morning when they thought Boris would keep it again:
Will we see a final installment this afternoon?