London Mayor Sadiq Khan may helped give birth to a tax revolt. Bloomberg reports that Khan has announced the city’s Ultra Low Emissions Zone (ULEZ), that was enacted in 2019 and applied all older vehicles in the city’s central and inner boroughs, will be expanded in 2023 to cover the entire city.
Despite claims of lower pollution levels in London after having implementing the ULEZ, backlash against expanding the scheme has begun and there are valid reasons for it. From Bloomberg (emphasis mine):
Drivers were already feeling the sting of the central London Congestion Charge (which is now £15). The additional ULEZ levy of £12.50 means some drivers who travel into Central London could pay as much as £27.50 ($30) for the day.
On the surface the ULEZ taxes don’t sound too bad, but the devil is in the details and then controversy over the program’s expansion becomes clearer. The ULEZ taxes are really new levies designed to (in theory) force people to use either electric vehicles, public transportation, or pay even more for the privilege of living in the British capitol. This, Bloomberg reveals, after London enacted tough rules on heavy polluting vehicles that cost drivers on average $31 a day just to enter central parts of the city while giving preference to electric vehicles.
London has long had a problem with air pollution at one point earning the nick name The Big Smoke. While Sadiq Khan may get recognition for lowering pollution levels, polls indicate the vast majority of people oppose expanding the tax authority’s jurisdiction. All Khan’s plan has done has shifted pollution elsewhere. The resulting increased demand public transportation will experience, the pollution levels electric cars generate (which is greater than fossil fuel-powered ones) including the overall costs consumers will have to shoulder in order to buy and own EVs, Khan’s boondoggle affects a lot people along while benefiting many third parties using a variety of direct and indirect taxes than is being reported.
Taking all of the above into account, small wonder that the London mayor’s neo-socialist, redistributionist, anti-population plan is considered controversial. But London’s politicians have to find ways to soak the population some how. It will be interesting to see if a rebellion comes about due to Sadiq Khan’s tax racket. The rebels will either be on par with France’s Yellow Vest revolt or more people than ever will instead decide to move out of London. Not just due to the consequences of COVID-19 lockdowns, but because of the cost of living and high crime in which the latter could be the real reason why the city’s pollution levels have dropped.
PHOTO CREDIT: Sign warning drivers that they are about to enter the Ultra Low Emission Zone and Congestion Charging Zone – By David Hawgood, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=80765152