Congestion charge is causing job cuts, warn shops

Nov 25 2003 by Nic Paton Print This Article

A quarter of Londonís retailers have been forced to lay workers off because of the effect of the congestion charge in the capital, a study has suggested.

The poll of 344 firms by the London Chamber of Commerce reported that 79% of shops had seen takings fall this year, with 42% blaming the £5 charge for motorists driving into London.

The chamber said 85% of retailers had failed to see any increase in productivity over the year, 10% up on the figure reported last year.

Colin Stanbridge, LCC chief executive, said: ďIf anything, the situation is deteriorating. The problem is especially acute for small firms, many of whom are tipped from being in the black to being in the red by even a small decrease in takings.Ē

But the findings have been disputed by London mayor Ken Livingstone, who claimed mostly firms with an axe to grind over the charge had taken part.

Londonís workers are also suffering from violence in the workplace, a separate study by the chamber has shown.

Its poll revealed that 4.3% of workers in the capital have to cope with ďunprecedentedĒ levels of threats and intimidation.

The chamber has urged employers to address the problem, which, it argued, not only impacted on staff safety but had serious ramifications for profitability.