London Retail Consortium blasts c-charge

The London Retail Consortium has heaped scorn on the congestion charge's first birthday celebrations and warned that it is 'case not proven' for business.

As London Mayor Ken Livingstone trumpeted that delays and travel times were down in the zone, LRC chairman Luke Mayhew said: 'independent and authoritative research' was needed to gauge the true impact before extending the scheme was considered.

The John Lewis managing director has replaced Peter Williams as chair.

While John Lewis is vehemently opposed to the charge - complaining sales from the Oxford Street flagship have dipped by 5.1 per cent since its imposition - Mayhew will reflect the consensus view when wearing his LRC cap.

According to the Freight Transport Association, 70 per cent of goods journeys are no quicker, while the Royal Institute of Surveyors reported 90 per cent of retailers claimed turnover has been hit. However, footfall monitor SPSL said shopper traffic has actually increased on the previous year.

- Property: page 33.