BORIS JOHNSON plans to hike the Congestion Charge, according to his own Director of Transport.

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“There is a potential of the £8 charge rising at peak times,” said Kulveer Ranger, the Mayor’s transport chief.

The snag is that, during his successful election bid last year, Johnson promised not to raise the Congestion Charge.

If he’s not to be tagged as just another weasel-worded politician, the Mayor needs a cover for the rate hike and the one he looks like going for is the concept of “variable payments”, with peak hours drivers paying more than those entering central London at off-peak times.

“The basic rate will not go up,” said Johnson. “This was a manifesto commitment.

“There would have to be a premium rate for certain types of vehicles at certain times of the day.”

As yet, there is no word how much higher the peak hours price will be, but the model Johnson’s team have borrowed is the scheme used in Stockholm. There, drivers pay double in peak hours what they do in off-peak, which could translate into a London Congestion Charge of anything up to £16.