LondonNet News Headlines
03/02/03
Government Backs Ken's Congestion Charge
- Praise from minister could signal thaw in relations

SIGNS that there is a warming in relations between London Mayor Ken Livingstone and the government emerged today when Transport Secretary Alistair Darling praised the Congestion Charge.

"Technically it has worked far better in London than some predicted," Darling said. "The people who said it would never work were wrong."

Livingstone and the government have enjoyed a long-running battle over the future of the Tube network but the Congestion Charge could see the two sides reconciled. Effectively, the government have used the Mayor as a stalking horse with road-pricing. If it works, they can help extend the idea across the country; if it fails, they can happily pin the blame on Livingstone.

The thaw in relations brought about by CC could soon be extended to the previously bitter row over the Tube. After his apparent success with CC, it is thought the government is more likely to engineer a smooth handover in control of the Underground to the Mayor in the coming months.




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