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Livingstone ready to raise the rate

LONDON MAYOR Ken Livingstone will quickly raise the capital's forthcoming congestion charge from £5 to £6 if it is found to have no impact on congestion, MPs heard last week.

He told the Commons transport committee that he expected the £5 charge to be launched in central London on 17 February to cut traffic by a moderate 10%.

'I suspect it won't have as many bad effects but also won't be as good as we hoped, ' he said. 'It could be a difficult first two months but it will then settle down.'

The scheme will be reviewed after six months and, if successful, could soon be extended west to Kensington & Chelsea and east into Tower Hamlets, he added.

Cash generated in the first year would go towards half fares for 16 to 18 year olds on the buses expected to cost between £40M and £50M.

Livingstone is expected to accept an independent assessor for the scheme to be appointed by the Greater London Assembly.

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