The US Embassy in London now owes £891,000 to Transport for London in unpaid congestion charges and fines, making America by far the worst offender in terms of unpaid charges and penalties.
Since the US government decided to stop paying the congestion charge in July 2005 their debts have rapidly risen. The US claimed that it did not have to pay the congestion charge because they claimed it was a tax from which diplomats are exempt. London Mayor Ken Livingstone said: 'The US government rightly expect international diplomats living in Washington to respect US law. We are entitled to expect US diplomats living in London to respect British law.'British diplomats in the US pay American tolls and charges, US diplomats should respect British law and pay the congestion charge.'A statement from the mayor's office added that the US embassy had never explained why their embassies paid similar congestion charges in Singapore and Oslo, but refused to in the UK. 'The UK government has repeatedly told the US Embassy that the congestion charge is not a tax under British law, it is a charge, and that the Embassy must pay it,' said the statement.The net revenues from the congestion charge are spent on measures to further the Mayor's Transport Strategy. In the financial year 2005/6 congestion charge revenue reinvestments totalled £122m.