Coronavirus: Shaun Bailey calls for congestion charge suspension

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

London mayoral candidate Shaun Bailey has called on Sadiq Khan to suspend the city's congestion charge to allow health workers to avoid public transport amid the coronavirus crisis.

Speaking to talkRADIO, the Conservative politician said the capital, which is the epicentre of the outbreak in the UK, could become a “real calamity if not dealt with properly.

He told Julia Hartley-Brewer that doctors and nurses should be driving to work, saying the London Underground “acts a bit like a petri dish that we wouldn't want our first responders to be in”.

Mr Bailey estimated that suspending London's congestion charge would cost around £21.5 million - which he said was “peanuts” compared to the cost of the impact of Covid-19 to the NHS.

He said: “Our nurses and doctors are who we need to combat this.

“For me it would be a small but very powerful move, it’s something that the Mayor of London has complete control over - it would only cost around £21 million for a month and we could look at it again at the end of the month but I think it's really worth doing.”

He said he would be raising the issue with Mr Khan at tomorrow’s Mayor’s Question Time.

Meanwhile the Mayor has said that London’s public transport network could be massively cut back in the coming days, with frequencies of services potentially being scaled back to match that of the weekend.

Mr Bailey and Mr Khan were set to fight to the capital’s top job alongside independent Rory Stewart, Green Party’s Sian Berry and Liberal Democrat Siobhan Benita in the mayoral election due to take place on May 7.

All local and mayoral elections have been now been postponed until 2021.

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