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3 Bumps

Not that we can afford this right now, but maybe if all US cities started doing this, too, he'd stay home where he belongs?

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-13467327

20 May 2011 Last updated at 07:59 ET
Obama 'may get £5m congestion bill', says Boris Johnson

Mayor Boris Johnson plans to confront President Obama over millions of pounds owed by the US embassy in congestion charges, during his visit to London.

Several embassies refuse to pay the charge for driving in central London, claiming they are exempted from local taxes. The total bill stands at £51m.

"Maybe when President Obama's hors d'oeuvre plate is whisked away he will find a bill for £5.5m," he said.

The US embassy said it considered the charge to be a "direct tax".
'Not a tax'

Mr Obama will visit the capital, from 24 to 26 May.

Following Mr Johnson's interview on BBC London 94.9, Transport for London (TfL) confirmed the US embassy owed £5.2m in unpaid congestion charge.

Speaking to Vanessa Feltz the mayor said he may be "shepherded away" from Mr Obama but added: "If I get the chance to I will remind him that the US owes us £5.5m in congestion charge.

"I think if they are going to have the representation here in London then they should pay the charge for driving and using our streets. So 'No representation without a congestion charge' is the slogan."

Several embassies refuse to pay the £10-a-day charge and the £120 fine incurred through not doing so.

But Mr Johnson said: "It is not a tax, it is a charge for services and I think we should test this in the courts.

"The only way we could do this is if the foreign office gets a grip on the situation and actually takes the American government to court and gets this adjudicated in the international court." he said.

A statement from the US Embassy said: "The US Embassy in London conscientiously abides by all UK laws, including paying fines for all traffic violations, such as parking and speeding violations.

"Our position on the direct tax established by Transport for London in 2003, more commonly known as the congestion charge, is based on the 1960 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, which prohibits the direct taxation of diplomatic missions.

"Our position is wholly in accordance with that agreement to which the United States and the United Kingdom are both signatories, and it is a position shared by many other diplomatic missions in London."

A spokesman for TfL said: "Around two thirds of embassies in London do pay the charge, but there remains a stubborn minority who refuse to do so, despite our representations through diplomatic channels".

Answer Question
 
NotPanicking

Asked by NotPanicking at 12:53 PM on May. 20, 2011 in Politics & Current Events

Level 51 (421,172 Credits)
Answers (23)
  • A statement from the US Embassy said: "The US Embassy in London conscientiously abides by all UK laws, including paying fines for all traffic violations, such as parking and speeding violations.

    "Our position on the direct tax established by Transport for London in 2003, more commonly known as the congestion charge, is based on the 1960 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, which prohibits the direct taxation of diplomatic missions.

    "Our position is wholly in accordance with that agreement to which the United States and the United Kingdom are both signatories, and it is a position shared by many other diplomatic missions in London."


    No bitching then huh?

    sweet-a-kins

    Answer by sweet-a-kins at 1:06 PM on May. 20, 2011


  • No bitching then huh?

    Is this one of those answers where you point out something totally meaningless and try to hijack the entire answer? Because this time it's so far off the mark, I'm not even sure how you're trying to hijack it.
    NotPanicking

    Comment by NotPanicking (original poster) at 1:11 PM on May. 20, 2011

  • – collapse

    I don't hi-jack anything. You can choose to answer or not..I dont answer the way YOU want me too...OK?

    sweet-a-kins

    Answer by sweet-a-kins at 1:13 PM on May. 20, 2011 (hidden) + expand

  • NP, do you mean if all cities starting charging the congestion tax? I doubt it would keep ANYONE home. It doesn't in London... it just makes folks more creative in finding ways to get around. And makes them more inclined to buy hybrids, which get a break on the fee.
    gdiamante

    Answer by gdiamante at 1:16 PM on May. 20, 2011

  • NP, do you mean if all cities starting charging the congestion tax?

    No, I mean all cities charging the Presidential motorcade a congestion tax every time they come to town. They cost us millions every time they're here, and for a while he came here more often than most places because he was still selling the "I can fix it" line of bs. For the record, he hasn't fixed anything here yet.
    NotPanicking

    Comment by NotPanicking (original poster) at 1:17 PM on May. 20, 2011

  • cities charging the Presidential motorcade a congestion tax every time they come to town

    Wouldn't we also be responsible for paying the congestion tax? Or are you proposing that each POTUS of the US would personally pick up the tab? Or just Obama? Just stay home? As in hang out in DC and just email, skype, video, phone it in?
    Sisteract

    Answer by Sisteract at 1:24 PM on May. 20, 2011

  • Thanks for the clarification. And I stand by the previous answer: Nope. It might help the bottom lines of a few municipalities, though.
    gdiamante

    Answer by gdiamante at 1:25 PM on May. 20, 2011

  • By the way, London's congestion charge applies to EVERYONE. Not just motorcades. If you drive a car into central London, you'll be paying for the privilege.
    gdiamante

    Answer by gdiamante at 1:26 PM on May. 20, 2011

  • Wouldn't we also be responsible for paying the congestion tax?

    A public incentive for them not to do it. When people start protesting your appearances because they don't want to pay for them, venues are less willing to cooperate, local police less likely to cooperate - make it less "convenient" to spend 2 years campaigning instead of working.
    NotPanicking

    Comment by NotPanicking (original poster) at 1:30 PM on May. 20, 2011

  • All Presidents travel and use motorcades,etc. and so far you are the only one to gripe about it and we know why.
    minnesotanice

    Answer by minnesotanice at 1:46 PM on May. 20, 2011

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